Geeks in a Corner, Talking Tech
August 9, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 31: The Post I/O Experience Part 5 – Android Wear

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Android WearAndroid Wear

  • Android wear UI is not customizable
  • Pairs with Android phone via Bluetooth (requires Android 4.3+)
  • 1 day battery life
  • Notifications appear on watch
    • Swipe left to dismiss
    • Swipe right to take further action (e.g. open in phone)
    • Reply with voice (only for certain apps)
    • Requires 2 hands
  • Availability (in certain locations):
  • Samsung Gear live (vs the G Watch)
    • smaller screen (1.63″ Super AMOLED vs 1.65” IPS LCD)
    • higher resolution (320×320 vs 280×280)
    • smaller battery (300 mAh vs 400mAh)
    • extra Heart Rate Sensor (common sensors: Compass, Accelerometer, Gyroscope)
    • has a Bluetooth / Wi-Fi antenna
    • cheaper in US (US$199 vs US$229) (Australia: $1 more expensive, AUD$250 vs AUD$249)
  • LG G watch
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July 30, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 30: The Post I/O Experience Part 4 – Chromecast, Chrome OS, Cardboard

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Cardboard

Chromecast

Chrome OS

Cardboard

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July 25, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 29: The Post I/O Experience Part 3 – Android L, Android TV, Google Fit, Android Auto

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Android L Developer Preview

Android L

Android TV

  • Android TV Website
  • Google Content (movies & music) on the big screen using voice commands
  • Game focused: has hardware game controllers, similar to Ouya
  • Controlled using swipes with Android wear or voice commands on an regular Android device
  • Can cast screen/content from Android devices to Android TV using Google Cast
  • Play Store available to install apps

Google Fit

Android Auto

  • Android Auto Website
  • In-board car dashboard powered by your Android device
  • “Dumb” dashboard monitored, all powered by external Android device
  • Google’s response to Apple’s CarPlay
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July 20, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 28: The Post I/O Experience Part 2 – Polymer

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Polymer logo

Polymer

  • Polymer Project website
  • Polymer Elements
    • Polymer Core elements: a set of utility elements including general-purpose UI elements (such as icons, layout elements, and toolbars), as well as non-UI elements providing features like AJAX, signalling and storage.
      Docs | Demos
    • Paper Elements: Polymer’s paper elements collection implements material design for the web. They’re a set of highly visual, highly interactive elements that include things like controls, layouts, hero transitions, and scrolling effects.
      Docs | Demos
  • Polymer Designer: Designer is a drag and drop tool for prototyping apps using Polymer. Save your experiments as Github gists.
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July 16, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 27: The Post I/O Experience Part 1 – Goodies, Android One and Material Design

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Android One

Watch the Google I/O 2014 Keynote on YouTube

Goodie count

Android One

  • Reference hardware for OEMs
  • High quality affordable smartphones
  • Stock Android & Automatic Updates from Google
  • 4.5″ Android device, dual SIM, FM radio, micro SD card slot
  • Under US$100

Material Design

Material Design

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June 17, 2014 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 26: The Pre I/O Experience

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Google IO 2014

Links

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May 3, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 25: The Windows Phone Experience

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Windows Phone Live Tiles

  • Lumia 520 for AUD$176
    • Specs don’t really matter because it’s a pretty good experience
    • 512MB RAM which limits some heavier apps but still a pretty smooth experience. Much better than cheap Android phones
  • Good Polish unlike Android back in the day that had a lot of rough edges
    • In between iOS and Android but closer to iOS
    • Find my phone
    • Sky Drive Integration
      • Save Photos automatically
        • can’t seem to enable only on WiFi so may be hazardous to your 3G data
        • doesn’t upload screenshots
      • Office Documents synced in the cloud
    • Office
      • Can create and edit Word and Excel files offline
      • Can view Powerpoint files
        Windows Phone - Office - vlookup
    • Bluetooth transfer data migration
    • Consolidated settings (like iOS) but also and in app
    • Glove usage! (probably a Lumia feature)
  • Good Features
    • People Hub
      • Combines all social streams (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) into one stream
        Windows Phone - People Hub - social stream
      • Like Twitter lists but for all social networks supported
        Windows Phone - People Hub - groups
      • Photo Stream of all updates with photos
    • Bluetooth image sharing!
    • Has Android like intents/sharing of data to other apps. E.g. from photo app, can share photo to apps like WhatsApp / Email / any app that supports receiving images
  • Gripes
    • App selection still small. No official Dropbox app, no instagram
    • Search page is not a web page. E.g. Search in browser address bar brings you out of the browser to the search page, and clicking a link in the search page goes back into the browser
    • Sharing Intents inconsistent
      • But doesn’t seem to work for all things… Can share photo (.jpg file) from camera to WhatsApp but cannot share screenshot (.png file)  to WhatsApp. Can’t share URL to WhatsApp.
      • Perhaps more of a non-mature app ecosystem rather than Windows Phone fault. App developers need to program their apps right
    • Notifications could be better
      • If app is a Live Tile, then you can see the notification number
      • If app is not a Live Tile, there is no easy way to know what app caused the notification (iOS has it best with badges)
    • No quick toggles
      • Have to go into settings to turn things on and off similar to iOS (e.g. enable/disable data / WiFi)
      • Hard to toggle vibrate
    • Can’t disable screen rotation. Less sensitive than Android which is good.
    • No file explorer or file system like Android
    • No auto-sign in like Android for Google sites
      Windows Phone - no auto sign-in
    • Switching apps shows “Resuming…” quite a bit. More to do with how Windows Phone handles apps. Could be due to limited memory of 512MB and may not occur with higher end devices with more RAM
    • No Bluetooth tethering (available in iOS and Android)

Links

 

Windows Phone - Me app  Windows Phone - opening unrecognized files

 

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April 27, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 24: Facebook Home in Review

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Facebook Home - lock screen

  • Makes Facebook so much easier to access
  • Even I found it fun to use even though I don’t like to
  • Not good for those with ADD
    • Seems to bring new pic/updates each time you turn it on
  • No way to filter who appears on home screen
    • Possible embarrassing photos shown in public / accidental leakage of personal information or photos
  • Limited launcher
    • Only Facebook notifications on home screen (notification drawer still available from the top)
    • No widgets / Folders
  • Chat heads is not a Facebook Home feature: it’s a Messenger feature.
    • Also available for iOS but with limited functionality (jailbreak gives you OS wide functionality)
    • First app to bring drawing over apps to mainstream
    • Scared of possibilities: pop-up ads!

Links

 

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April 9, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 23: Facebook’s Home

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Facebook Home

  • An Android lock screen/home screen/app launcher and that focuses around people not apps
  • More that just a widget it’s a full experience
  • Cover Feed
    • First thing you see when you switch on: a lock screen with status updates & notifications
    • 1 status update per page, swipe for more
      • Background status image / profile image that pans slowly
      • Press to show full view
      • Double click to like
      • Like and Comment buttons in the corner
    • Circular unlock
      • Uses your Facebook profile photo as an icon to swipe
      • Swipe up – apps
        • Swipe left for all apps (app drawer)
      • Swipe left – messages
      • Swipe right – last used app
  • Chat Heads
    • Overlay icon of people who you are chatting with
    • Shows over any and all apps
    • Can drag anywhere but docked to screen edge
    • Throw to bottom dismiss
  • Facebook Notifications on lock/home screen
  • HTC First – mid ranged phone for the masses with Facebook Home pre installed.
    • Gets full Android notifications (e.g. Calls, texts, mails) on lock screen vs only Facebook notifications for other phones
    • Back, Home & Menu capacitive buttons

Links

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March 23, 2013 by thewheat

Corner Geeks 22: Samsung Galaxy S4 – Life Companion?

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Samsung Galaxy S4

After much fanfare there S4 was finally revealed and it seems more of an upgrade to the S3 itself but with the latest version of Android and a lot of Samsung software tweaks (some of which should be coming to the S3 as well), The S4 is bigger (screen-wise and feature wise) yet physically smaller and lighter when compared to the S3 (130g vs 133g).

Upgraded specs:

  • Processor (new quad core / an octa-core vs dual core / older quad core – market dependent
  • Screen (5” vs 4.8”)
  • Cameras (13MP vs 8MP)
  • Battery (2600mAh vs 2100mAh)

Specifications

  • 5″ (4.99”) Full HD Super AMOLED 1080p screen (1080×1920, 441ppi)
  • Android 4.2.2
  • 16 / 32 / 64 GB storage with microSD card slot
  • 2GB RAM
  • Similar dimensions to S3 but thinner narrower, lighter
  • 13MP rear camera, 1080p video
  • 2MP front camera, 720p video
  • 2600mAh (removable)
  • 3G & LTE (all LTE frequencies – global roaming)
  • New/Notable features
    • 802.11ac (Typical WiFi, NFC)
    • IR LED for remote control functions
  • Still has microSD & removable battery
  • Extra Sensors: IR Gesture, Temperature, Humidity (in addition to Accelerometer, RGB light, Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer)
  • Available starting end of April and will be available in 155 Countries

Software Tweaks

  • Dual Camera: uses rear and front photos & videos (front video can be toggled as an overlay during the video which recording)
  • Sound & Shot: 5 seconds of audio before/after photo
  • Drama Shot: composite multiple shots (over 100/ second – choose which ones to composite)
  • Eraser: remove unwanted bits in the photo
  • Cinema Photo: make cinegraphs
  • Air view: hover over items to reveal more info (like stylus hover in Note II / mouse hover). Use front camera.
  • S Translator: text to speech and speech to text
    • 9 langauges: English, French, German, Italian, Latin-Amera, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portugese
    • Offline support
    • Integrated into Samsung apps
    • Optical reader app –  so you can take a photo of signs and menus to translate them.
  • Adapt Display: adjust brightness, saturation, contrast depending on what is being used
  • Story Album: automatic photo album creation (e.g. uses location to detect holiday). In-app purchase of physical albums
  • Samsung Home Sync support
    • Home Sync is a physical device with 1TB personal
    • Phone, TV, tablet, PC connectivity
    • NFC tap to connect
  • S Voice Drive: S Voice with interface for driving
  • Samsung Smart Switch: for migrating data from ‘any’ smartphone to the S4
  • Glove support
  • Samsung Hubs: video, book, games store
  • Samsung Knox: separates work and personal space
  • Group play: sync devices to play music together. Games support it.
  • ChatOn
    • Dual Video Call: uses front and rear cameras for video chat
    • Screen share
  • Air Gesture: navigate by swiping hand over camera: scrolling, previous/next photo (S3 had something like this)
  • Smart Pause: pauses video when you look away and resumes when resume looking
  • Smart Scroll: tilt device to scroll
  • S Health: health monitoring
    • Keeps and tracks different data with the help of accessories
      • S band, Body Scale, Heart Rate Monitor
    • Tracks
      • Calorie Consumption / Burned
      • Sleep Pattern
      • Heart Rate
      • Exercise
      • Weight
      • Blood Sugar & Blood pressure

Accessories

  • Pouch
  • Flip Cover
  • Protective Case
  • S View Cover: transparent section to view things like caller ID

Links

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