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Lenovo’s new AI concepts include a virtual assistant and a speaker with a built-in projector

By Jimmy Westenberg

Lenovo’s big Tech World 2017 summit is happening as we speak, and the company is putting a huge focus on artificial intelligence. “Ask 10 people what AI does, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. And many of them would be correct,” says Lenovo in its Tech World press release. “That’s the beauty of AI; it’s capable of so many things.”

That’s the beauty of AI; it’s capable of so many things

Artificial intelligence is one of those areas in which many companies have a presence, and oftentimes we see crazy concepts showing off what the future of AI could look like. And that’s exactly what Lenovo is doing today. The Chinese tech company has unveiled four new concepts focusing on AI and AR.

First up is CAVA (pictured above), which is a virtual assistant that uses deep learning-based face recognition systems and natural language understanding to give you important reminders and manage calendar events. It can understand the meaning of a message on its own, and can give you calendar recommendations based on what the message says. One good example is that it can suggest when to leave for an appointment by analyzing traffic and weather data.

Next up is daystAR, which is a headset with an optical display and free-formed surface lenses with a 40-degree field of view that harnesses the power of Lenovo’s AR Platform. Developers to use the headset to create applications across a variety of industries, using services like Cloud Object Recognition, Remote Assistance, Multiplayer Interaction, and 3D Content Manager.

Next up is perhaps the coolest concept of all. SmartVest is a garment of smart clothing that uses 10 textile sensors to monitor cardiac activity. It’ll be able to record ECG signals in real time, and can identify problems such as tachycardia or atrial fibrillation. Athletes can also use it to get accurate heart rate stats.

We also have SmartCast+, which is a smart speaker that can recognize sounds and objects. What’s more, there’s also a built-in projector that can project AR experiences onto a wall.

Finally, the Xiaole platform is built for businesses. This platform learns from conversations with customers and gives you personalized user experience 24/7. Basically, it’ll analyze your conversation with a customer and will be able to help solve technical issues they may be experiencing with a device.

As we mentioned before, these are all concepts for now, so there’s no telling whether or not they’ll actually come into fruition. We sure hope so, as these products could drastically help change the way we interact with each other.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google Play Protect aims to block malicious apps

By Evan Selleck

Apps and games are ridiculously popular, but unfortunately they can be used as a means to get malicious software onto a smartphone or tablet. Google has been working to keep that kind of software away from users for some time, but today they are taking yet another step towards the ultimate goal of keeping Android devices safe.

Google has launched Google Play Protect, and it’s rolling out beginning today. The new feature will be present on all Android devices running Google Mobile Services 11 or newer. Users can find it on their device by going into Settings –> Google –> Security –> Google Play Protect. If it’s there, then it will begin automatically scanning downloaded apps from the Play Store. If an app that gets pinged, it will be listed in this section of the security settings, and apps that’ve been recently scanned will be shown, too.

On the Play Store itself, there will soon be a badge for apps that says “Verified by Google Play Protect,” which should help at-a-glance downloads in the future. This is rolling out now, but it may take some time before users start seeing the badge show up on app splash pages.

Just one more step in keeping the end user safe, which is a good one. What do you think of Google’s latest security measure?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Google’s anti-malware security suite “Play Protect” now rolling out to Android phones

By Scott Adam Gordon

Google is now rolling out Play Protect to all Android devices with Google Play Services 11 or higher. The news arrived earlier today via Engadget following Google’s announcement of the service during Google I/O 2017 in May.

Google Play Protect is a unification of Android security systems like Verify Apps, browser protection, and anti-theft measures. The app verification portion of this, which I should note has already been in effect for years, routinely scans apps to ensure that they are working and haven’t been compromised, while the anti-theft component comes in the form of Google’s Find My Device app.

While Play Protect’s app scanning feature works automatically, you can customize its settings — like turning off regular security threat checks (though I don’t recommend this) — by visiting Google > Security > Verify Apps in your phone’s settings.

It’s not a fancy new feature that you’ll enjoy spending time with, but having a better visualization of your phone’s current security status may put some minds at ease. To learn more about Google Play Protect, you can visit our explainer article at the link.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Sony launches its mid-range smartphone, Xperia XA1 Ultra, in India

By Abhishek Baxi

Sony India has unveiled the mid-range model in its refreshed “X” series, the Xperia XA1 Ultra. The Xperia XA1 Ultra features edge-to-edge, borderless design with diamond cut-like finish on top and bottom, along with aluminum sides.

XA1 Ultra also includes Xperia Actions that aims to learn your usage patterns to simplify your daily life by suggesting customizable settings and personalized recommendations.

See also:
Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra hands-on!

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Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra hands-on!

February 27, 2017

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra Specifications

  • Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Display: 6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) | Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 2.3 GHz GHz MediaTek Helio P20 Octa-Core 64-bit | Mali T880 GPU
  • RAM: 4 GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 64 GB; expandable up to 256GB via microSD card
  • Rear Camera: 23 MP with LED flash | 1/2.3″ Exmor RS sensor | Hybrid Autofocus | f/2.0 aperture
  • Front Camera: 16 MP with selfie flash | 1/2.6″ Exmor R sensor | f/2.0 aperture | OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
  • Dimensions: 165 x 79 x 8.1 mm
  • Weight: 188g
  • Battery: 2,700 mAh | Qnovo Adaptive Charging | Quick Charging (MediaTek PumpExpress 2.0)

Available in three color variants – Black, White, and Gold – the Xperia XA1 Ultra is already available in all Sony Center and major electronic stores across India at a price of ₹29,990 ($465).

While a Quick Charger (UCH12) worth ₹1,490 is already bundled in the box, you can also get ₹1,000 off on Style Cover Stand (SCSG40) on purchase of the XA1 Ultra.

What are your thoughts on this new mid-range smartphone from Sony, and would you like to pick one up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

T-Mobile to start supporting premium 600 MHz spectrum in August

By Scott Adam Gordon

T-Mobile has announced that its first low-band 600 MHz spectrum sites are expected to “light up” from August. The move was discussed in the company’s Q2 2017 earnings report released yesterday, and it would pave the way for a better mobile internet experience for T-Mobile customers.

“At least 10 MHz covering more than 1.2 million square miles of 600 MHz spectrum will be cleared and ready to deploy in 2017, with several compatible devices ready for the 2017 holiday season,” wrote T-Mobile in the report, adding, “We will use a portion of our 600 MHz spectrum holdings to deploy America’s first nationwide 5G network in the 2019 / 2020 time frame.”

T-Mobile secured around 45 percent of the 600 MHz spectrum in an FCC auction earlier this year — more than any other organization — which the company says will carpet “100%” of the US. The also move marked T-Mobile’s largest ever investment, costing the company almost $8 billion.

See also:
Here are the best T-Mobile plans

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Here are the best T-Mobile plans

2 days ago

The 600 MHz spectrum is valuable because it can cover longer distances (i.e. rural areas), improve reception inside buildings, and should be less congested than the mid-band and high-band spectrum already in operation. Specific hardware is required to make access those frequencies, it isn’t possible on every device, but T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray announced on Monday that (unnamed) phones from Samsung and LG would support the 600 MHz band this year (potentially the LG V30 and Galaxy Note 8).

“Our network remains the fastest in America and has been for the last fourteen quarters in a row. Our network continues to get faster while the Duopoly’s networks get slower in the wake of their unlimited launches,” said T-Mobile.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile also took the opportunity to announce that its 700 MHz deployment is “essentially complete, live in 575 market areas covering 271 million people.”

See also:
T-Mobile just doubled the price of its top-tier unlimited data plan add-on

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T-Mobile just doubled the price of its top-tier unlimited data plan add-on

2 weeks ago

T-Mobile hasn’t revealed in which locations the 600 MHz sites would be activated, so even if you end up buying a compatible phone, you might not have access to the frequency band for the time being. Still, these are just early moves from T-Mobile — the carrier is in a strong position with regards to the next few years of mobile internet.

What are your thoughts on T-Mobiles 600 MHz ambitions? Let us know in the comments.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

LinkedIn launches Linked Lite app in India; to be rolled out in over 60 countries soon

By Abhishek Baxi

LinkedIn has announced the launch of LinkedIn Lite app, a faster and lighter version of its flagship Android app. LinkedIn Lite offers a seamless and intuitive experience to LinkedIn users in the country. According to the company, the world’s largest professional network has more than 42 million members in India.

LinkedIn Lite is a ‘Made in India’ product developed by the company’s R&D team in Bengaluru, and was inspired by the success of the lightweight mobile website which was launched in September 2016.

While the LinkedIn Lite app is first being rolled out to members in India, the company plans to roll out the mobile web version and the new Android app in over 60 countries shortly.

LinkedIn Lite aims to make the platform more easily accessible to the growing population of mobile internet users in India while helping overcome the challenges of unpredictable internet connectivity. The app is built to run smoothly and offer faster access even on lower end smartphones.

The app loads extremely fast – in under five seconds, even on 2G network – and the app size is only 1 MB while reducing data usage by 80 percent.

According to Akshay Kothari, LinkedIn’s Country Manager for India, apart from providing a fast, data-light solution for professionals in slow network areas, he hopes the LinkedIn Lite app will democratize access to economic opportunity.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Tasker’s latest update brings a revamped UI, icons, themes, and more

By Williams Pelegrin

Out of all the apps that let you customize your Android device, Tasker is one of the more powerful and granular ones available. It also happens to be one of the more popular, which is why its revamped look and feel, along with an exhaustive changelog, will excite a lot of users.

As a general overview, Tasker lets you control how your Android device behaves without needing to root your device or learn how to code. The app harnesses things like the time, location, date, and more to have your device accomplish specific tasks on its own. A few examples include the ability to have your phone automatically lower the screen brightness at a specific time in the evening and launch the gallery app once a microSD card is inserted.

See also:
How to use Tasker

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How to use Tasker

January 26, 2017

Just because Tasker is so powerful, however, does not mean it has looked good being so – the app relied on Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich-era theme, which did not help its convoluted nature. That looks to have changed with Tasker’s 5.0 update, which finally brings the app to modern times.

According to the exhaustive changelog, the revamped interface is based on Google’s Material Design, which should help make things a bit cleaner-looking. The look is bound to throw off longtime Tasker users, but it should make it easier for beginners to hit the ground running.

The updated Tasker also includes hundreds of Material Design icons, as well as several themes and support for both customizable quick settings for Android 7.0 and app shortcuts for Android 7.1.1 and up.

The update has been in the works for a few months, given its beta status back in May, but it is finally ready for prime time on the Play Store. It may take a bit for the updated Tasker to hit your device, but the wait should not be that long.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Gratus is an app that reminds you of the good things in life

By Team AA

“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations…”

Between work and kids and family drama and bills and cramped plane rides and bad wifi connections, life can get pretty stressful. It’s times like that when it’s helpful to just take a step back and be reminded of all the good things in life, like our jobs, our kids, our families, traveling, and the internet.

It’s a pretty awesome concept and it could not be simpler to use

Someone once challenged me when I wake up in the morning to take a few seconds and think of three things in my life that I’m grateful for. Thankfully, for the lazy bums like me, there’s now an app for that. Gratus is a new app for Android that is designed to help remind you of all the things you are grateful for. It’s a pretty awesome concept and it could not be simpler to use. Once you open the app, there is an almost Twitter-esque card in front of you that prompts you to simply write about something you are grateful for. You can of course add in a picture to the post and you can even tag friends. Once you save it to your feed, those who were tagged are notified and anyone who follows you will see your post and can give it a like, eerily similar to other photo sharing apps we know and love.



My favorite feature is a widget that will allow you to save the things you are grateful for right to your home screen so you’re reminded of them every single one of the 10 billion times you check your phone during the day. This is only available in the premium version, which costs $2.99. That small price tag will also get you access to passcode/fingerprint protection, the ability to show notes in your notification panel, as well as a daily reminder feature.

See also:
Best Android apps of 2017

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Best Android apps of 2017

3 weeks ago

Life can be hard, but now there’s an easy way to remind you that there are some really awesome things about life as well.

Interested? Head to the Play Store link below for the download.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

In time for Comic-Con, Telltale unveils The Wolf Among Us’ second season and more

By Williams Pelegrin

San Diego Comic-Con does not go into full swing for another day, but that did not stop Telltale Games from unveiling a smorgasbord of titles just in time for the yearly event.

The headliner looks to be The Wolf Among Us‘ second season, which will see the return of main protagonist Bigby Wolf and Snow White. Season two will feature a new story, as well as “a new mystery, an all new set of stakes,” though the developer did not provide more specifics about the story.

See also:
15 best games with gamepad support for Android

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15 best games with gamepad support for Android

1 day ago

Telltale did reveal that The Wolf Among Us‘ second season will be released sometime in 2018, which will make it close to five years since the game’s first season. Because of the large gap between seasons, folks peppered Telltale with inquiries about the second season, something the developer made light of in the video update below.

Not to be overshadowed, Batman: The Telltale Series also gets a second season: Batman: The Enemy Within. Telltale confirmed that Batman/Bruce Wayne, as well as The Joker, will return in season two, while The Riddler is set to make his series debut.

Batman: The Enemy Within‘s first episode is set for release sometime this year for Android.

Last, but certainly not least, is The Walking Dead‘s fourth and final season. As with previous seasons, the fourth season will star Clementine and will hopefully tie up any loose ends from those seasons.

The Walking Dead‘s fourth season will be released sometime in 2018, though it is unknown whether this means the end of Telltale’s series in general or only the end of the main seasons.

Telltale titles are some of the best mobile games out there if you’re looking for a good story, so these will definitely be worth checking out once they arrive.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Android O team talks Project Treble, blob emoji, themes, and more

By Brian Reigh

As you may know, the engineering team behind Android O held an AMA on Reddit today, and here are some of the things we learned from it.

See also:
How stable is the third Android O developer preview?

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How stable is the third Android O developer preview?

3 weeks ago

The most frequently brought up topic was probably Project Treble, and with good reason. After all, it’s expected to accelerate the speed of OS updates, something that has been a fundamental problem among Android devices. Full theming is another theme (sorry) that came up a lot throughout this session as well as questions regarding adaptive refresh rates and the future of Android tablets and Android Wear. We’ve gathered some of the most interesting conversations from the AMA below. If you’d like to see the full AMA, you can head on over here.

I really want to believe Project Treble will (mostly) fix fragmentation. Am I too optimistic?

  • Devices launching with Android O will come Treble-enabled out of the box. Project Treble will make it easier, faster and less costly for device maker partners when these devices are updated in the future. In addition to the engineering changes, which enable Project Treble on all new devices launched with Android O and beyond, we’re working closely with device makers and silicon manufacturers to both get required Android customizations (such as carrier-specific requirements) into AOSP, and reduce their cost and complexity when updating to the new version of Android. For example, Sony and Qualcomm have already contributed dozens of features and hundreds of bug fixes into AOSP so they no longer need to rework these patches with each new release of Android. We’ll publish more information about Project Treble on source.android.com soon.

When do you think we will get the first results from Project Treble?

  • It depends on how much the partner wants to take advantage of some of the benefits of Treble. Device maker partners can choose to utilize the same stable vendor implementation with the newest version of Android or they can choose to work with silicon manufacturers to update both the Android OS framework and the vendor implementation.

Is there a programming obstacle to full theming (à la TouchWiz or MIUI) or is it something the Android team doesn’t think is right yet?

  • TL;DR: Theming is not hard. Reliable and consistent theming is hard.

There are technical and logistical issues with theming. The technical side is largely solved in O with RRO support (thanks Sony!); however, we still don’t have stable APIs for describing what can be themed or adequate ways to verify that existing applications properly support theming. You might remember a dark theme making brief appearances in previous releases – since we already had a dark Material theme, we didn’t have to worry about APIs to describe the themeable properties; however, we were unable to convert every existing app (ex. Calendar, Photos, other bundled and core apps – even Settings was a challenge) to support dark Material theme and verify that it was properly supported.

If you had, say, a bright pink “Hello Kitty” theme that’s not a simple brightness inversion, you run into even more complicated cases of ensuring minimum contrast levels for accessibility, picking reasonable secondary and tertiary colors, etc.

Is there any push to support adaptive refresh rates within Android?

  • Sharp has been shipping Android phones with adaptive refresh rates since 2016 (at least in Japan). I’ve been disappointed with my 60 Hz phones since I’ve played with one of those Sharp phones 🙂 Adaptive refresh rates and 120 Hz rendering is something we’ve been thinking about for years (it’s great for 24fps video playback!).

Why did you kill the blob emoji? (*insert sad blob emoji here*)

  • Over the last few years Unicode has expanded the range of emoji considerably and created new categories of emoji. In parallel new messaging use cases have emerged (i.e.: larger emoji used as stickers). The current design system did not lend itself well to supporting the expanding emoji set and these new use cases, so we needed a significant visual refresh.

Will Android O do anything for Android Wear?

  • Android O will mostly be a technical upgrade for Android Wear. For example, Wear will get background limits which will help preserve battery with O and users can expect more controls over notifications via notification channels. In addition, we have added new tools for developers to help implement complications and build watch friendly UIs.

How far along are you from completion on the return of Tablet UI?

  • Honestly, I don’t think tablets is a space where we can meaningfully talk about “completion.” It’s more about figuring out what the next driver of innovation will be for this form factor. We are continuing to invest in productivity use cases (keyboard-driven UI, multiwindow, etc) but also – along with lots of other folks in the industry – working on what the next evolution of tablets should be. For Android, there are some interesting overlaps with tablets given the increasing success of Chromebooks and the recent addition of the ability to run Android apps on Chrome OS. We are working to make the Android developer stories for both form factors (tablets, Chromebooks) identical.

What is being done to shore up the Bluetooth audio solution?

  • The Android Bluetooth, audio, and performance teams actually did a lot of work to improve BT audio in O. We flipped the switch internally since the most recent developer preview because we needed a little more time to make sure that things were stable, so you haven’t seen the fruits of that labor quite yet. (To find out more on this, click here)

While the team didn’t reveal the official name of Android O – as expected – we now have a more complete picture of what Android O will bring to the table later this year. What questions do you have regarding Android O? Do you think Project Treble will be enough to fix …read more

Source:: android authority