Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Project Glass: One day... By Google


I seem to like the Corning ones more that I blogged here.

** New Edits 05/04/12 09:40 **
From CNET:

Google's augmented reality glasses are real! Dubbed Project Glass, the long-rumoured lenses that show you heads-up information about the world around you have been confirmed by the company.
At the moment, Google's announcement is limited to a Google+ page
Here is a parody on above video from Tom Scott:

Friday, 11 February 2011

Smarter Cars of the Future

We all know that cars are getting smarter. Back in Oct., Google unveiled the cars that can drive by themselves. I am sure they will make our life much better and we will be able to catch on the sleep at early morning commute.

Then there were quite a few futuristic cars at the CES 2011 last month. One such video is embedded below.




The following is a summary from the an IEEE article:

Cars have been getting smarter for years, studded with suites of sensors and supporting electronics aimed at keeping them from crashing. But entertainment and convenience have rapidly caught up to safety as the impetus for new in-car electronics development. Because automakers typically spend three years developing and producing new cars—and new gadget candy to go with them—they’ve found themselves constantly playing catch-up with consumer electronics and consumer expectations. So car companies have teamed up with the makers of smartphone software platforms to integrate a spectacular array of apps designed for handsets with cars’ digital dashboards, center consoles, and speaker systems.

Take for instance Ford’s new Focus all-electric vehicle, which made a big splash at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month. It features a software application called MyFord Mobile.

The app, which runs on Ford’s proprietary Sync platform and is compatible with the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android devices, links the car with the driver’s smartphone and home computer. The software lets the driver listen to a smartphone’s music library and lets passengers watch movies or TV shows. It delivers information such as when electricity prices are at their lowest (to allow for the cheapest battery recharging) and where the nearest charging stations are. And it allows a smartphone to function as a remote control, by means of a connection to cloud-based servers. This remote communication lets the handset keep tabs on the car’s location and the batteries’ state of charge. It will also let the driver start the Focus EV from indoors on a blustery January morning, then step into a car whose seats and steering wheel are already warm. The MyFord Mobile app lets the driver remotely start the car, turn on the heater or air conditioner, or unlock the doors from anywhere in the world (including beneath the bedcovers).

And because the system differentiates one driver’s key from another’s, it presents information on the reconfigurable 4-inch screens on either side of the speedometer in the current driver’s preferred color and style. The state of charge, for example, could be shown as a percentage of the full charge, as an estimate of the remaining miles before recharging, or as a simple bar that gets shorter as the batteries’ energy is consumed. This differentiation also works for utility and entertainment options; it automatically queues up driver A’s list of radio station presets, favorite mobile apps, and preferred display options for the 8-inch center console touch screen. Because MyFord Mobile links the Focus to the driver’s handset, it can also access his or her contact list for hands-free calling and read out e-mails and texts through the car’s speakers.

Ford is trying to position itself as a technological leader in the automotive industry with MyFord Mobile and Sync AppLink Voice Control, which puts the driver in control of all the Sync system’s capabilities via voice commands, but it has stiff competition from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Continental, and Toyota. Launched by Mercedes-Benz in November 2009, the Mbrace system, designed and engineered by Hughes Telematics of Atlanta, was the first telematics service on the market to give smartphones the power to remotely lock, unlock, or locate a car. It didn’t signal a revolution in the way the average driver interacts with his or her vehicle because when the German luxury vehicle maker offers a new technology or set of features, there is usually a multiyear wait for them to trickle down to cars whose sticker prices aren’t stratospheric.

The second generation of Mbrace debuted last September. It introduced Mercedes-Benz Concierge, which not only opens the car to information from the outside but also makes some car-based information and entertainment options portable. The Mbrace Mobile Application 2.0 gives iPhone and Blackberry users single-phone-number access to recommendations for nearby entertainment and restaurant options, directions, traffic updates, and more, whether the person is in the car or not. The concierge then sends destination information to the smartphone or directly to the in-vehicle navigation system. With the Mbrace system’s latest wrinkle, the Drive2Friend service, the driver can dictate a friend’s mobile number and the app sends a text message reporting that the driver is trying to find the person. The friend has the option of allowing his or her location to be sent back to the car via cellular triangulation.

While Ford was showing off its wares at CES, Continental was also there showcasing the Android-based AutoLinQ system, which lets the driver connect to the car in three ways.

AutoLinQ’s Mobile View lets you to send text messages to your car; the smart vehicle can text you back with information such as its location. In this demo [Flash video], a smartphone user is shown making a remote inquiry about the status of his car. Mobile View reports that the sunroof is open and offers the option to close it or ignore the warning. When he taps Close on the handset’s touch screen, the sunroof’s glass panel glides shut. This type of call-and-response vehicle update also tells whether doors are closed and locked and whether the headlights or interior lights are on. Mobile View doesn’t wait for a query to alert the driver when the alarm is triggered, the battery is depleted, the air bag has been activated, or the internal temperature of the car is too high or low. And like MyFord Mobile, it turns the smartphone into a remote control for locking and unlocking the doors, starting the engine, flashing the lights, and more.

AutoLinQ’s Home View lets you download apps and configure vehicle settings from your home computer. Clickable tabs at the bottom of the Home View screen let the car owner move through screens showing a wealth of data on the car’s status, driver preferences, navigation information, and applications that can be downloaded or fine-tuned. The status menu tells whether the ignition is on and displays the fuel and motor oil levels, the pressure for each of the four tires, and much, much more.

Car View, in AutoLinQ, is for updating features from the driver’s seat. Car View provides the same information as Home View but lets the driver use the center console touch screen to download apps on the fly that provide better control of the car and the ability to remotely manipulate electronic devices back home. An app that sends an alert when a game or match in the driver’s favorite sport is about to appear on television also gives the option to activate a digital video recorder at home, pull up a Web site featuring periodic updates about the game, or listen to play-by-play on the radio.

Continental is also designing unique apps that will enhance vehicle performance. For instance, the Filling Assistant will detect underinflated tires and notify the driver. When the driver goes to inflate the tires, the Filling Assistant will report pressure information to the driver’s smartphone and honk the car’s horn or flash its lights to indicate when a tire has enough air.

Not to be left out, Toyota, the world’s leading automaker, debuted the QNX-based Entune at CES 2011. Entune is an upgradable suite of entertainment, navigation, and information functions. "Consumers have grown accustomed to having the world at their fingertips through their mobile phones," says Jon Bucci, vice president of Toyota’s advanced technology department, who notes that putting them in the car is a natural evolution.

After downloading the Toyota Entune app to a handset and syncing it with the Toyota vehicle, the driver can begin accessing content and services, including Bing for Web navigation and OpenTable, which can make reservations at any one of 15 000 restaurants, with directions sent seamlessly to the navigation system and information appearing on the center console. Entune also lets a driver get customizable real-time traffic updates, sports, weather, stocks, and information on prices at local fueling stations. The system doesn’t forget music, which has almost always been a part of the driving experience. Entune includes Iheartradio, which delivers roughly 750 local radio stations at the touch of a button.

The tide of apps extending handset capabilities to cars will only continue to rise. ABI Research, in Oyster Bay, N.Y., reports that the number of users of automotive apps will increase from 1.4 million in 2010 to more than 28 million by 2015. And according to Global Industry Analysts, the vehicle telematics market is expected to reach US $11.2 billion by 2015.

You can read the complete article here.

In other news, Robots in future will have their own Internet and content like Wikipedia, etc. Does anyone else remember 'The Terminator'?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Phone(y) Detectives!


Too many Apps are being developed that will turn people into ametuer detectives.

A new mobile application called Recognizr can identify a person’s face via your phone camera and deliver not only profile information about that person but also show you their latest status updates.

Swedish computer vision specialists Polar Rose combined forces with interface designers TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) to create the Recognizr as a prototype application for Android phones to show off Polar Rose’s mobile face recognition library. Polar Rose’s software recognizes individuals, while TAT’s interface uses augmented reality to show profile information from sites like Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn and the latest status updates from the recognized person.

Recognizr uses FaceLib, a mobile face recognition library from Polar Rose, which is available for Android and iPhone. FaceLib can recognize faces in photo or video but, in common with other facial recognition products, is more accurate for photos. Recognizr also uses Polar Rose’s server-side solution FaceCloud because you can’t store profiles of all potential matches in the phone — although recognizing people who are already in the phone’s address book can be handled locally on the device.

In a presentation at the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, David Petrou, a project lead of Google Goggles, described the future of Goggles.

Google Goggles, as Petrou reminded the audience, includes the ability for the mobile Android application to take a picture of the object ad send it back to Google's cloud services. Petrou demonstrated the app with a picture of a beer can with an Android smart phone, which identified the can as a can of Boddington's. A results page showed an icon of the result, with some results from the Web. He also showed a videocassette of the movie Breakin', and Goggles identified it correctly.

The basic design principle of Goggles, Petrou said, was that it has to be universal: queries can't be processed within a single finite context, such as a bottle of wine. Petrou showed off a book that contained an image of a manual transmission linkage: Goggle returned both a link to the book on a shopping site, but also linked to a search on manual transmissions.

Goggles returns a specific result about a third of the time, Petrou said, and the internal CONGAS recognition engine matches images to aa database of about 150,000 landmarks by finding "interest points" within an image. New photos compared to the database can be correctly identified about 50 to 60 percent of the time, with a false positive rate of about one in 10,000, he said.

Goggles' strong suits? Packaged goods, such as movies. But with generic objects, such as an image of a red car, Goggles still struggles.

Goggles can also work with bar codes. A recent addition has been the inclusion of machine translation, which can recognize text and translate it on the fly.

Unfortunately, Goggles has to work as a client application, as Google needs as much of a fine-grained control of the camera as possible, such as the white balance.

Petrou said that Google was considering opening up Goggles to third-party applications, so that a stamp collector could upload an image of a stamp with annotation describing what it is. An open API may also be released, so that a picture could be taken of a foreign currency, and an app could be opened to automatically convert that bill's value into dollars.

Google also plans to fuse the camera with Goggles, so that augmented reality may be the future of visual search, Petrou said. "We'll use it where it's the right user interface," he said.

Goggles does have the capability to recognize faces, although that functionality hasn't been implemented in the app as yet. That might change as more and more people begin uploading data to the Web: if 17 different images of your face appeared on the Web, a picture take of you with Google Goggles would rank "you" in the top ten results about half the time. If there were 50 results, your face would be ranked in the top 5 results abour half the time, he said

Facial Recognition along with Geo-tagging is also available in Picasa web albums. You can already find who is connected to someone in facebook when you search for the people. Once all these information would start working together then you can identify the person where they have been on holidays (based on Geo-tagging of photos) and when they have gone there. Who else in their friends/family had gone with them, etc.

In fact FBI/CIA/MI5 may make their own app to "report potential terrorists" where if you see any suspicious person you can open one of their apps and click the photo of some person and the secret service will quickly check if this person is potentially a problem.

Of course we are not discussing the privacy concerns yet but looks like Scary future to me.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Mobile Payments to be mainstream in 2011

With some much talk (and hype) surrounding NFC and Mobile payments, it looks quite possible that m-payments will enter mainstream in the Western world in the forthcoming year. Though mobile payments have become norm in developing countries like Kenya, Senegal and India, its yet to catch on in UK and the USA.

Here are some interesting facts from MobileBeyond:
  • The mobile transaction market is so huge it offers room for multiple players. Yearly worldwide electronic transactions total $7-$10 TRILLION
  • Competitors are generally local to each country or region leaving plenty of open territory for mobile payment service and technology companies. Companies that win in their markets will be those that understand customer needs.
  • PayPal in the U.S., which has traditionally catered to merchant accounts, most likely will adopt a similar mobile strategy. (Both Obopay and PayPal are service providers–not technology companies like Fundamo in South Africa that provides software solutions for service companies.)
  • “The competition is cash”–not the other players in this market space
  • In five to ten years, mobile payments will achieve high adoption among consumers in developing and developed countries.
  • Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico offer growth opportunities for players that understand these markets
  • According to Portio Research, by 2011 mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion
  • Nielsen predicts 27% of all U.S. payments by 2012 will still be cash
To get an idea, there are already multiple m-payments providers in Kenya. Leaving out the gians like Google and Paypal, there are other local providers like M-pesa, Pay-Zunguka, Pesapal and Zynde.

The following are the developments in UK from Computer weekly:

Some forms of mobile payments already exist. Phone applications like PayPal Mobile support person-to-person (P2P) payments. SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

Contactless cards are also in circulation for credit cards, transport tickets and are used in some food stores. The industry is looking next at near-field communication (NFC) mobile handsets. NFC allows 'tap-and-go' style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets. Alternatively, micro-SD cards with NFC-enabled chips can be inserted into mobile phones.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. "By storing a consumer's credit or debit card within the SIM card and employing NFC technology, the mobile phone can be passed near a contactless Point Of Sale (POS) terminal to complete transactions," said Nav Bains, GSMA's senior director of mobile money.

GSMA has been collaborating with standardisation bodies; the European Payments Council, EMVCo, which manages card specifications and smartcard infrastructure standards body, Global Platform. The consortium is developing the Trusted Service Manager requirements document and a certification process to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile NFC services. But some experts believe NFC is a long way from a mass market roll-out in the UK.

The biggest breakthrough in the mobile payment market have been in developing countries, providing bank services via mobile phones for people who have traditionally not had bank accounts. Visa Europe recently launched Europe's first micro-SD based mobile payment systems in Turkey. But it is unclear when such a system will be introduced in the UK. says Juniper Research senior analyst, Howard Wilcox.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK is approximately 26,500 and the UK Card Association predict 14 million contactless cards will have been issued with contactless functionality by the end of 2010. "We're not expecting to give a launch date any time soon," continues Swain. "Globally, there's a lot of discussion but the UK is one of the only areas where we already have the infrastructure that would accept contactless mobile payments," he adds.
UK-based mobile banking firm, Monitise, has also recently launched a joint venture with Visa in India to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing and mobile top-up to Indian customers. More than infrastructure, Monitise group strategy director, Richard Johnson, believes banks and mobile network operators need to work together. "Banks are where most people keep their money. It's about mobilising bank accounts rather than creating new accounts with network operators. Tap-and-go really requires collaboration," he says.


Industry expert consortium, Mobey Forum, hopes to bring banks, mobile network operators, acquirers and merchants together to build the relationships needed to progress the mobile payments industry.

Gerhard Romen, Mobey Forum marketing chair and director of mobile financial services at Nokia, believes the NFC trials have proved the consumer demand and, by 2011, all of Nokia's new smartphones will be NFC-enabled. "Once people work together, it'll provide simplicity for the user" he says. "A phone with NFC can do more than just behave like a card - it has a display, keyboard and internet connection - and becomes more interactive," he adds.

Today we have credit, debit and, perhaps, contactless cards. Tomorrow banks and mobile network operators hope to provide a mobile wallet. The next step will be introducing tap-and-go into the mainstream market and, despite slow progress, industry experts are increasingly certain it will happen "soon".

From eWeek:

Google and Apple are both making moves to ensure smooth financial transactions on their mobile platforms.

Last week news bubbled up that Google and PayPal were brokering a deal to let the search engine use the e-commerce service as a payment option for applications purchased through Google's Android Market.

Apple, meanwhile, hired an expert in near field communication (NFC) technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce and has published a number of NFC-related patents in recent months.

Google's e-commerce infrastructure is poor compared with that of Apple. Users may only purchase applications for their Android smartphones from the Android Market in 13 countries.

By way of comparison, consumers may purchase apps from iPhone's App Store in 90 countries all over the world. PayPal would be a welcome addition to Google Checkout and credit cards as payment options in the Android Market.

Gartner has said the market for mobile apps will be $6.2 billion this year, making it an obvious sector for Google and Apple to attack with gusto.

From San Fansisco Chronicle:

Bay Area businesses like Bling Nation and eBay Inc.'s PayPal division are rolling out products that allow people to hand over money to stores, restaurants, coffee shops or friends with the tap of a mobile device. No credit cards, checks or cash are necessary.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that other major companies, including Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are planning or negotiating to provide similar services.

"What I see is all these distinct initiatives coming together and merging at some point in the not-too-distant future," said Aaron McPherson, practice director at IDC Financial Insights. "All together, they add up to significant change."

Bling Nation, a Palo Alto startup founded in 2007, is among the furthest along in this emerging field, with more than 1,000 retailers nationwide accepting its payment system. The company provides so-called Bling tags, or small stickers, that affix to the back of a mobile phone and transmit data using a wireless standard known as Near Field Communication.

When users tap the tag on a proprietary reader at participating retailers, it pulls money from their PayPal account. For security, users have to enter a personal identification number for purchases over a certain amount, or when transactions occur at an unusual frequency or location.

Merchants pay for or rent the reader and are charged 1.5 percent of the total of every transaction, which is well below the average transaction rate for accepting credit cards. The additional advantage for merchants is that they can analyze customer data in a more fine-grained manner than is permitted through the credit card system. This allows them, for instance, to target sales offers to regular customers or those who haven't been into the shop in a while.

"They enjoy cheaper fees and analytics that can help them issue coupons and make more money," said co-founder Meyer Malka, adding that the advantages are turning businesses into proselytizers on Bling's behalf.

A little more than a month ago, the company began an aggressive push in partnership with PayPal to expand its footprint in downtown Palo Alto. It included giving away thousands of tags preloaded with $20 in credit to customers. There are now more than 50 retailers in the city accepting the payments.

As I mentioned last week, with heavyweights like Nokia, Apple and Google all coming closer to NFC and M-Payments, it should be a winning formula for the end consumers. We will possibly see more use of m-payments in the developed world. Lets not mention about security just yet.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mobile Phone Developments May 2010


HTC's 4G [sic] Phone is al ready to be rolled out. It is supposed to allow to transfer data averaging speeds of 3 to 6 megabits per second, and bursts hitting 10 Mbps. Ok, I can visualise some suspicious smiles but that's marketing. Its the data speeds of a normal HSPA network but it sells.

Inside the Evo is a 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of ram, and 1 gig of built in memory. On top of those screaming specs are a 480×800 display, as well as two (count em!) cameras, the better of which packs 8 megapixels. Running it all is the newest version of Android (2.1), as well as HTC’s Sense UI for a little extra eye-candy. All told, this looks like an amazing phone to finally make use of Sprint’s fancy new network, and it may just be their best bet for reversing their falling fortunes.

The Evo 4G will allow for simultaneous voice and data and will be the first smartphone to ship with a YouTube HQ player and a video chat app from Qik to be used with the front-facing camera. Though Sprint's onstage Qik demo didn't work, we were impressed with the Evo 4G's speed (Sprint brought in a 4G tower for the event) as well the handset's 3D gaming capabilities and HDMI output.

As we learned at CTIA 2010, other goodies include an 8-megapixel camera on back, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, Android 2.1, and an extra-large 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen.



Tired of losing your cell phone? Maybe you need a Zomm.

The new gadget is billed as a wireless leash for mobile phones reminding you when you've left your cell phone behind. Here's how it works:

You just pair the nugget sized Zomm with your phone over Bluetooth. Then you clip the Zomm onto you or attach it to your keychain. When your cell phones gets more than 30 feet away from Zomm, the Zomm unit starts to vibrate, flash lights and then eventually lets out a wail.

You can also use the Zomm as a Bluetooth speaker so you can answer calls through it, instead of talking straight into your phone.

The leash idea can work in reverse too. If you're the type who loses their keys more than their phone, you can just attach Zomm to your keys and then whenever you lose your keys, you can call Zomm and set off its alarm.

There's also a panic button. In case of emergency you can just press it and get help immediately, without dialing on your cell phone.

Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has named ZOMM as ‘One to Watch’, because of its innovative use of Bluetooth technology and universal appeal.

“Through the use of Bluetooth wireless technology, ZOMM provides an array of convenient applications for users,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

“Its simple application of Bluetooth technology appeals to the masses – nobody wants to lose their mobile phone.”



Verizon Wireless and LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc. announced the LG Ally™ will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores beginning May 20. The first Android device from LG, the Ally is the perfect assembly of futuristic, stylish design and 3G Android power for customers looking to tackle life's most challenging feats and everyday ventures. Verizon Wireless customers can pre-order the phone at www.verizonwireless.com beginning May 13.


Until now, mobile users have been faced with a choice -- either type on a tiny keyboard or use a touchscreen keypad.

Neither is perfect but, so far, tiny but real keyboards have been winning out for many people. One of the many reasons cited by some BlackBerry users for not switching to an iPhone or similar device is that sensitive touchscreen keypad.

Some manufacturers have tried to give users the best of both worlds, a touchscreen and a pull-out keyboard, but search giant Google has another idea: make all mobile-phone keyboards obsolete.

With the recent release of its own phone, the Nexus One, users are beginning to experiment with what Google hopes is the future of mobile search: voice-and picture-based searching.

"Voice, we think, is just a natural way to solve a problem that exists on all phones, which is that typing is quite difficult, especially in certain languages like Japanese," said Alex Nicolaou from Google's office in Waterloo, Ont..

"Input methods are relatively onerous, whereas saying a brief phrase . . . is extremely fast . . . and there are just times when a picture really is worth 1,000 words.

"If you're standing outside a landmark and you want to know about it, it's obviously going to be much, much simpler to take a photo of that landmark and have the system tell you what it is, than it would be to figure out what name to type in, especially in a foreign country."

Google admits both are still in relatively early development stages and are not very reliable.

For voice searches, short strings of words work best. Even in noisy cafes, most four-or five-word searches worked well during testing. Nicolaou said one misheard word won't necessarily throw off your search results.

Google has hinted at some future features incorporating voice and image recognition. Engineers are working to improve the ability to photograph a printed page so it can be accurately scanned into text and quickly translated into another language. In a video posted online, a Google employee scans a menu from a German restaurant and uses his phone to translate it into English.

Google also hopes that, eventually, travellers will be able to speak a phrase into their phone, have it translated into another language and played back through their phone's speaker.


This season, big handset makers including Nokia, Microsoft and Motorola are betting you’ll want to flaunt cute, palm-shaped devices that look more like compact powder cases than brick-shaped mini-tablets.

Motorola is likely to introduce a new phone next month called Flipout that will have a 2.8-inch display, a 3.1-megapixel camera and a twist-out keyboard. We haven’t tested it yet, but on looks alone, it’s fabulous, darling.

Motorola’s square-shaped phone follows the release of Microsoft’s fresh-looking Kin One earlier this month. The Kin One has a 2.6-inch display, a slide-out keyboard, and looks like a rounded square when closed. In September, Nokia introduced the Twist on Verizon, a squarish phone with a 2.5-inch display. Even LG has a square-shaped phone called the Lotus, which has been available on Sprint for more than a year, and though it’s not exactly been a big seller, its looks are hot, hot, hot.

Microsoft released the final version of the desktop Office 2010, along with which it made available a flavor aimed at mobile phones, namely Office Mobile 2010. The owners of a device powered by Windows Mobile 6.5 can now take advantage of the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint editing capabilities of the application while on the go.

Among the features that Office Mobile 2010 comes around with, we can count SharePoint integration (users can easily access and edit documents stored on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 site), Bluetooth controller mode for PowerPoint presentations, access to SharePoint Workspace Mobile, the possibility to easily take notes on the phone and to insert voice clips or pictures in them, and others more.

“Effective today, Office Mobile 2010 will be available for free via Windows Phone Marketplace for all Windows Mobile 6.5 phones with a previous version of Office Mobile. People using Office Mobile 2010 can perform lightweight editing of Office documents and take notes on the go.

As if mobile phone cameras weren't complex enough, Sharp has just announced a tiny 720p 3D camera for its mobile devices.

The 3D Camera Module has been made to fit inside either a compact point and shoot or a smartphone. The camera is crammed full of the latest technology, all of which enable it to capture both moving and still high resolution 3D images.

Things like colour synchronising processing, as well as 'fast readout' technology, help the tiny little camera to produce its images.

Sharp has made use of complicated high-density mounting technology in order to pack so many features in to this tiny device.

The company insists that the cameras will go into mass production by the end of the year.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Speech for Mobile to become big industry

Its interesting that its not only Google that experimenting with Voice Recognition and Voice search but a whole lot of other players. Earlier I blogged about Real time Speech Translation and another one was the Voicemail search. Google's search App also allows to search using voice rather than by entering text.

SpeechTek Europe 2010 is a new conference that promises to make everyone aware of the new Speech Technologies and their application in Mobile and other domains.

Produced by the publishers of the industry’s best-read magazine, Speech Technology, SpeechTEK Europe is the sister of the highly successful New York annual event series and aims to capitalise on the wealth of speech innovators based here in Europe.

The conference has been developed by a Steering Committee which comprises some of the industry’s most respected thought leaders. Here they share their insights into the future for speech technologies, how they are developing, and where they will be used.

Loquendo’s Vice President of International Sales, Rosanna Duce, predicts that voice control will be a major growth area in the next five years:

One important emerging speech technology is undoubtedly the voice control of all kinds of devices, for example, PDAs, mobile phones, DVD players.” She comments, “These technologies are currently being expanded and upgraded to allow all functions to be accessed using voice, thus eliminating the need to use a keyboard. Consumer demand seems to suggest that the option to dictate text messages will be a major source of growth in this area, as will be the reading of incoming messages by a TTS application bundled with the phone/PDA.”

Nava Shaked, CEO of Business Technologies, agrees,

The combination of voice search engines, internet and mobile is a real opportunity for speech technology growth and influence. This includes the introduction of previously unseen applications for voice user interface and transcription. The combination of voice and video is also promising and will be inevitable in our interaction with multimedia.”

James Larson, the Conference Chair, supports these views,

Multimodal applications on mobile devices will enable customers to not only speak and listen, but to also read and type and use additional modes in interaction. These apps will be easy to learn, easy to use, and much more natural than current voice-only apps or GUI-only apps. They will always be available, and customers can use them wherever they are, not just at their desktop or in their car.” He concludes, “Multimodal applications on mobile devices will dramatically change how we interact with appliances - TV, radio, environmental control - with the internet, and with other people.”

The SpeechTEK Europe conference programme explores these trends and the implications for the industry as a whole. Real world applications and case studies are a particular feature of the event, so delegates can see for themselves how speech is working in a variety of different environments, how to select and implement the technology, and how to evaluate its performance.

The full SpeechTEK Europe programme is available at: www.speechtek.com/europe2010 along with registration information, details of registration savings, and free entry exhibition tickets.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Google real time speech translation mobile in couple of years

Live language translation on mobile phones could be just two years away, according to search giant Google. The company already offers text translation services and voice recognition, and Franz Och, head of translation services, says that work has already begun on combining the two.

The technology would work by translating phrases rather than individual words, and the company hopes that by looking at the huge amount of translated text already online, it can produce systems that are much more accurate than current versions. “If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently,” he said.

With over 6,000 languages spoken around the world, however, and only 52 currently on offer through Google’s existing translations services, the service is some way from meaning that language teaching in schools becomes redundant. “Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that's what we're working on,” said Mr Och.

So far, that is not yet possible, and language experts suggested that seamless technology is currently a distant prospect. David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at Bangor University, said the problems of dealing with speed of speech and range of accents could prove insurmountable.

'No system at the moment can handle that properly,' he added.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

All eyes on China Mobile TD-SCDMA network


China Mobile plans to spend more on 3G terminal subsidies in 2010.

The outfit has tripled the amount of subsidies from the current year level and is expected to spend $4.4 billion next year. The huge amounts of cash will enable the outfit to push into the 3G space in the worlds largest economy.

China Mobile has 70 per cent of the Chinese wireless market but has been taking a caning from China Unicom. The outfit uses its own TD-SCDMA 3G standard but with that sort of money to spend it is fairly clear that foreign salesmen will be showing up trying to flog the outfit shedloads of 3G gear.

The company recently launched a line of smartphones dubbed Ophones based on the TD-SCDMA technology which uses Google's Android mobile operating system.

All three carriers have commercially launched their 3G networks over the recent months, but take-up has been slow. Market leader Mobile has been hamstrung by the limited number of handsets for the new TD-SCDMA system.

But now with its device range expanding and the network expected to be rolled out to 238 cities by year-end, the market’s 800-pound gorilla appears ready to assert itself.

Analyst firm BDA says China Mobile plans to spend 120 billion yuan on handset subsidies this year, most of it on TD-SCDMA. It laid out 50 billion on subsidizing phones in the first half of the year, with less than 12% going to TD phones.

Now a China Mobile source told has told website C114 that the company would leverage its financial strengths “to stage a price war to resist Telecom’s and Unicom’s 3G” services.

China Mobile has 503 million users, Unicom 142 million and China Telecom 44 million customers. Of these 3G comprises a tiny fraction - China Mobile has 1.3 million using TD-SCDMA, Unicom 350,000 using W-CDMA and China Telecom 1.3 million on its CDMA EV-DO network.


TD-SCDMA is primed to evolve into a global standard: TD-LTE. Granted, TD-LTE's sales pitch is not all that different from its ancestors - i.e. making use of unpaired spectrum to boost capacity in urban environments where FDD macro networks get overloaded. What is different this time around is a bigger ecosystem of vendors developing it - admittedly for just a single market at the moment, but also the biggest single mobile market in the world.

The other key difference is that TDD has always been primarily a data play. But from 2001 up to 2008, 3G cellcos were still primarily in the voice business, and FDD allowed them to continue milking that cash cow. That worked fine when 3G data usage was still mostly ringtones, wallpapers and other walled-garden content.

Then the iPhone happened. Smartphones got smarter and data usage skyrocketed so high that E1 backhaul links became the new bottlenecks. If ABI Research is to be believed, by 2014 mobile users will be transmitting a total of 1.6 exabytes a month (compared to 1.3 exabytes for all of last year).

Hence all the interest in LTE, as well as related technological tricks to offload data traffic and maximize RAN capacity like spectrum refarming in the 900- and 1800-MHz bands and femtocells. TD-LTE is another tool in the toolbox, and by the time we start hitting monthly exabyte levels in five years, its predecessor in China will have been put through the ringer enough to qualify as "seasoned" if not "mature".

Of course, all that depends on a ton of factors over the next five years. Still, TDD is a lot closer to realizing its potential than it was at the start of the decade.

If nothing else, TD-LTE may have the novel distinction of being the quietest evolution the cellular world has yet seen. That will depend on how much progress Qualcomm and other chipset vendors make with dual-mode FDD/TDD chipsets, but once devices are capable of roaming seamlessly between both, TD-LTE may be the first RAN acronym that won't need to be marketed to end-users who don't give a toss what it's called anyway.

ST-Ericsson is creating a strong foothold in the evolving Chinese 3G market, and is powering the first modem for TD-HSPA, which can take advantage of the fastest speeds offered by China Mobile.

The silicon joint venture is working with Chinese partner Hojy Wireless on modules that will turn up in data cards and dongles early next year. China Mobile will hope these will boost uptake of its new network by heavy duty data users, a market where China Telecom's EV-DO system has so far shone more brightly. The M6718 modem could also be included in notebooks, netbooks and smartphones in future, as the market moves beyond data cards.

Mobile broadband modules, for incorporation in a range of devices, are an important part of the broader ST-Ericsson portfolio, with co-parent Ericsson a key customer as it bolsters its module business in 3G and LTE. The M6718 is a dual-mode TD-HSPA/EDGE device, supporting 2.8Mbps downlink and 2.2Mbps uplink.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Google's strategy for winning in a nutshell

Interesting analysis by Zigurd Mednieks on his blog 4thscreen. Though not directly linked to mobiles, I am sure a similar approach is being taken for mobiles.

Google wants to enable Google applications to run as well as possible as many places as possible. Here is how:

Google applications: Web applications run in browsers, on all kinds of systems. No need to be installed or updated, and hard to block. Anyone with IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or, of course, Chrome has access to all the latest applications.

Gears: Web applications run in a sandbox and don't have much access to your system. Gears enables more access. Applications are still in a sandbox, but the Gears-enabled sandbox is bigger, and can persist. This frees Web applications from having to be connected all the time.

GWT: The Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a radical abstraction of of the browser runtime environment. GWT applications are written in Java and compiled to JavaScript. The GWT library provides fixes for incompatibilities between browsers, as well as a rich UI library.

Chrome: Google's browser. Chrome provides the ideal browser runtime environment for Google applications. Fast JavaScript execution. Separate processes for each Web page.

Chrome Frame: Chrome Frame puts the Chrome browser inside Internet Explorer. This shows the lengths Google will go to in order to give Google applications the best possible runtime environment is as many situations as possible.

Android: Android is a Linux-based OS for mobile handsets and other devices. Android has exploded in popularity among handset manufacturers. This is Google's first win in computing platforms, and Google influences the software “stack” all the way down to the hardware. Android has a Webkit-derived browser.

Chrome OS: Chrome OS is meant for things larger than handsets. Chrome will be Google's attempt to bring a Linux-based OS and Web-based applications to netbooks and PCs.

Google's strategy is comprehensive: Control the software all the way down to the hardware where possible, and, if that isn't possible, be compatible, and maximize capabilities, on every possible platform.

Google's strategy is also technologically coherent: Java, Linux, Webkit, SQLite, Eclipse, and other common components are reused across multiple Google products and platforms. You can expect Google to contribute to and influence the development of these key ingredients. You can also see some design philosophy in common across Google products. For example, Android runs Java applications in multiple tasks, and Chrome runs Web pages/apps in multiple tasks to make these systems resilient to apps that crash.

While Google's applications, like Gmail, are proprietary, Android, Chrome, Gears, GWT and many other components of Google's strategy are open source software, many with permissive licensing that would not preclude competitors from using them. Open source builds confidence in Google's partners and in software developers using Google platforms.

Google's strategy has formed recently and moved quickly. It can be hard to perceive the impact. As fast as Google is implementing this strategy, you can expect a similarly fast emergence of an application ecosystem around Google's strategy. This will be one of the most significant developments in software in the coming years.

Meanwhile google has recently added search options to mobiles. You can now search only forums and you can search for posts that were posted within last week. Very powerful feature but shame so many PC users dont even know hot to use them.

Another very interesting feature that has been added is that when you search using desktop, you will be able to see that in your search history in mobiles as well. Google now synchs between your desktop and mobile as long as you have iPhone, Android or Palm phone.

I wonder how will Google surprise us next.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

...and the Android shall inherit the earth



Android fever seems to be catching on. Everyone phone manufacturer now wants to show that they are active in Android market. Few weeks back there were also rumours of Nokia launching android device (which may still be true). HTC is at the moment the leader, releasing more Android phones than anyone else.

The following is from a very interesting article in The Independent:

With four billion handsets in the world – more than twice the number of internet users, and two and half a billion more than the number of televisions – it's safe to describe the mobile phone as the most successful technology of our generation. But what's the next step for mobile communication? If Google has its way, the future is Android – and the next few months are going to be crucial to its success.

Android, in case the news has passed you by, is billed as the mobile phone operating system that will change the way we use mobiles. Where traditionally, phones have all worked differently, with usability ranging from the passable to the infuriating, Android's mission is to simplify, partially by devising a more intuitive interface, and also by making it so widely available that it becomes a standard. "Combining the simplicity of Android software with its imminent availability on a range of mass-market phones from various manufacturers, and the trend in developing countries to go 'straight to mobile', makes Android an exciting global platform for the next few years," says Richard Warmsley, head of internet and entertainment of T-Mobile.

From Android's humble beginnings as a two-person company in Palo Alto, California, through being bought up by Google in 2005, it has grown into the flagship operation of a group of 48 companies known as the Open Handset Alliance. Featuring such heavyweights of the tech world as LG, Toshiba and Samsung, its aim is to "enrich the lives of countless people across the globe" by improving mobile experiences.

The handset manufacturer Motorola is so confident the future is Android it's reportedly retired its team of 77 engineers who were working on the company's own operating system, and is now hiring software engineers familiar with Google's free alternative. Such is its potential that Android has been mooted as the software of the future for netbooks and set-top boxes as well as phones.


With any discussion of mobile phones, the elephant in the room is always going to be Apple's iPhone, which has been a huge critical and commercial success. Android phones and the iPhone might appear to be in direct competition; they are both high-spec, and similarly priced. But Al Sutton, a UK-based Android developer, thinks the situation may develop along similar lines to the home computing market: "I can see the iPhone and Android co-existing in the future in a similar way that Macs and Windows PCs do at the moment", he says. "Apple is focused on being a premium brand, whereas Android's focus is ubiquity."

Although Android phones are only rarely to be spotted in the wild in Britain right now, the groundswell of support for the system from manufacturers may well see a number of devices launched at once in the coming year. "We are not facing a shortage of offers powered by Android," claims Peter Becker-Pennrich, director of terminals marketing for Vodafone, on the brand's future product line-up. T-Mobile is similarly enamoured: "The open nature of Android, the innovation and choice it bring, mean that it will establish itself as one of the most important mobile platforms of the next few years", agrees Richard Warmsley.

Next month will see the release of the G2 Touch from T-Mobile and the Hero from Orange, both versions of a new touchscreen handset from HTC, which features a hefty five-megapixel camera with video functionality, GPS and, of course, full integration with Google products like Gmail, Google Talk and YouTube.

Read the complete article here.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Google G0 - Ready to go...


Designed by Taiwan's Tryi Yeh the Google-G0 is both a touchscreen phone and a slider, with four big navigation buttons for quick access to email, web browsing and more, which change depending on what you're doing. We don't see any physical keyboard anywhere, so it's probably handled virtually. On the back there's a set of speakers and a camera.

It looks like the G0's functionality persists when you plug it into its charger, and there's an image of a dock that looks like it'd either let you watch TV on your phone, or use your G0 like a remote. Check out the gallery below for more of Yeh's Google-G0 concept touchscreen phone.


Saturday, 13 June 2009

Android as a platfrom is growing fast

In the past year or so Android has shown its credentials and it can be said we are going to see lots of devices based on Android as a platform.

If I don’t want to be too pedantic then Android is a software platform for mobile devices, powered by the Linux kernel, initially developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries. Applications written in C and other languages can be compiled to ARM native code and run, but this development path is not officially supported by Google.

Android platform was first unveiled on 5 November 2007 in conjunction with the announcement of the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 48 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache license, a free-software and open source license.

Since the above has taken place a lot has been developed on Android platform in terms of notebooks and mobile phones.

For instance recently Acer said it will produce netbooks based on Google's Android platform. Undoubtedly Android will contribute "significantly" to the growth of the global netbook market just like it will for the Smartphones. The company also revealed that its first Android-based handset would be available in the fourth quarter. Acer had confirmed it would produce an Android phone this year, but had not given a specific time frame.

In other Android news, Garmin-Asus, the smartphone partnership announced in February, said it would produce its first Android phone no later than the first quarter of 2010.

Based on the above developments together with some other, Google’s bullishness is increasingly becoming evident about the growth prospects for Android. Google envisage that that by the end of the year there will be at least 18 handsets on the market running on Android. According to Google this number does not include handset makers using the basic version of Android that have not notified Google of their plans.

Handset manufacturers that have committed to producing Android phones this year include Acer, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola and Samsung.

Indeed, the ramping-up of Android phones intensifies a battle among some of the world’s biggest software companies to create the operating system for the world’s phones. Android goes up against a coming-soon new version of Microsoft’s mobile version of Windows; Apple’s proprietary iPhone system; the BlackBerry platform; a new Palm OS for its Pre, called WebOS; Symbian (mostly proferred by Nokia); and a host of Linux-based systems.

Googles Android has certainly added to the competition which is good for the customers but indeed has given sleepless nights to the likes of Microsoft, Nokia etc. Android has unquestionably won accolades as new alternative software for smartphone makers. The first Smartphones with Android on board came out in the United States late last year, and they were made by Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC).

I guess the future of application development is going to get even more interesting.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Google's voicemail search

This is an interesting convergence of technologies that have now been around for some time. There are many applications on the market that does voice to text conversion and vice versa. Now google is going a step further and letting people search their voicemails.

Google Voice gives you a single number streamlining your work, home and mobile phones and lets you store transcripts of voicemail phone messages in your email inbox.

Using speech-recognition technology, it will even let you search those messages for a snippet of information just as if you were trawling a sea of emails.

It will also let you make free local and cheap international calls, as well as consult Goog411, the company's free U.S. directory enquiries service.

Google Voice is based on technology originally launched by Grand Central Communications, a company bought up by Google nearly two years ago.

The acquisition had taken so long to bear fruit that observers were starting to suspect it had come to nothing.

Like the original Grand Central product, Google Voice offers consumers a single phone number that can route incoming calls to home, office and mobile phones.

Domestic calls will be free but international calls will require users to set up a Google Checkout account. Calls to landlines in the UK will cost 2 cents per minute.

EBay's Skype offers free domestic and international calls made over the internet from one computer to another, but there is a charge to landlines and mobile phones.

Skype president Josh Silverman told analysts and investors that "chat and voice will become table stakes". He also revealed that the company is adding 350,000 new users a day and is on track to do more than 100 billion calling minutes in 2009 alone.

Google does not view the service as a threat to Skype or other telecom companies any more than its Google Talk offering, which lets users chat over the internet for free.

"This is about allowing your existing phone to work better," said Craig Walker, now group product manager for real time communications at Google and co-founder of GrandCentral.

"It's not that we are replacing your phone, we are giving [it] the ability to work better," he said.
He declined to say how many users had signed up. Google Voice is currently only available to former GrandCentral users.


Google Voice also allows all voice messages to be turned into text which will then be sent either through an e-mail or an sms.