TweakTown NewsRefine News by Category:
Today, Google pushed out a major update to Google Wallet for Android that greatly expands the app's availability on various Android-based smartphones. Google Wallet is now available for all devices running Android 2.3 or higher even if they don't feature NFC functionality.
This update comes after Google upgraded the functionality of Wallet to include direct money transfers similar to PayPal without the fees. Users can now transfer cash to anyone with an email address within the United States once the sender has linked his bank account to Google Wallet. Funds can also come from your existing Google Wallet balance, but if a Debit or Credit Card is used, extra fees may occur.
Google has also allowed loyalty cards from retailers to be added to Wallet by scanning or entering the barcode on the back of each card. The biggest change for Google Wallet, however, is that it is finally available on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Do you use Google wallet? I have used it a few times, but usually forget it is there and just swipe my card instead.
Have you ever wanted to record your dreams? I've thought about it a few times, but honestly the concept of recording my subconscious scares the heck out of me. If a new Kickstarter campaign has its way, we will all be able to record our dreams soon and upload them to what is being billed as the "world's largest dream database."
SHADOW is an app that acts much like an alarm clock that gradually wakes you up with escalating alarms. Once awake, the app will prompt you to record what you remember from your dreams in either audible or text forms. This information would be loaded into a private dream journal that will analyze and visualize your long-term dream patterns.
The end-user--or "Dreamer"--will have the option to keep their dreams private or share them with friends and family. Additionally, dreamers can push their dreams into the cloud to join an anonymous database that uses natural language processing algorithms and keyword recognition to help identify global dream patterns. While this technology is cool and definitely something we need to research, the last thing I would like to do when I wake up is record myself describing my dreams. Head over to the source below to find out more.
It looks like that A7 processor Apple is baking into each and every iPhone 5S is about to get used a helluva lot more. The Cupertino-based giant is now allowing app developers to submit 64-bit apps for the iPhone 5S. Developers with apps that work on both iOS 6 and iOS 7 will be limited to 32-bit for the time being, but the company is set to support a single app binary for both 32- and 64-bit apps rolling into October.
You can submit 64-bit apps for iOS 7 today that take advantage of the power of iPhone 5s. Xcode can build your app with both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries included so it works across all devices running iOS 7. If you wish to continue to support iOS 6 then you will need to build for 32-bit only. Next month we will be making changes that will allow you create a single app binary that supports 32-bit on iOS 6, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit on iOS 7.
Google continues its workout by updating its Drive app, which includes a UI change and a bunch of new features. First up, we have Google moving from the "holo dark" theme to "holo light", which will bring Drive to the same look as Gmail.
Next up we have a new bottom action bar which provides Drive users with the ability to upload, create and scan, and more. The "create" option lets you see a familiar menu where you can make new folders, documents and spreadsheets. The new bottom action bar replaces the old + button in the top action bar, and it also hides when you scroll down your documents list, freeing up precious pixels.
There's some new features to bed found in the spreadsheet editor, which lets you merge and lock cells, as well as new options to improve your scans. There are the usual bug fixes and small improvements here and there. You can grab Google Drive here, if your device hasn't already updated.
Google's most far-fetched ideas that might seem crazy or simply impossible to its competitors, are called "moonshots." Google's next moonshot is to remove language barriers, with news of development starting on a voice-enabled universal translation system.
Google has reportedly started work on the voice-enabled translator smartphone app, that is currently capable of translating 24 different languages. Google's head of Translate, Franz Josef Och, has said that the voice-enabled translator is quite slow at the moment, but mentions the improvements made in Google's text-based Translation service over the years, stating that the voice-enabled service will see the same improvements over the eyars.
Considering over 200 million users used the Google Translate service last year alone, Google's new moonshot is definitely worth pursuing. I'd love to have something that would get the dialect right in non-English speaking countries. I'd love to be able to travel to Taipei for Computex in a few years time, speak into a translate app and have it speak fluently to the taxi driver, or someone at 7/11 or a restaurant. Come on Google, reach for the moon.
Google never sleeps, and thankfully, as we have an updated Google Maps app that now includes a bunch of improvements. First off, navigation speeds have been improved, with complete route and traffic overviews.
Bug fixes and stability improvements have been baked in, with the full change log below:
- Faster access to navigation, complete with route and traffic overview
- Improved hotel search results with sponsored rates and booking links
- Tips and Tricks available in the side menu
- Bug fixes
You can grab the updated Google Maps app here, if your device hasn't already automatically updated. It should begin rolling out later tonight to those of you who haven't read this news yet.
It looks like Microsoft is set to work on a mobile personal assistant, that will tie in with all of it's products. The voice assistant is going to be named after Cortana, who was the AI character in Halo.
Nuggets of information have been popping up regarding Microsoft's voice assistant, with an app called 'zCortana' the biggest hint in an early version of the Windows Phone OS. Stefan Weitz, director of Being, commented on the fact that Microsoft was building a competitor to Apple's Siri and Google Now, but wanted it to be better. He said: "We are not shipping until we have something more revolutionary than evolutionary. There are teams working hot and heavy on this right now."
After the missteps that were Surface and Windows 8, I expect great things from Microsoft's voice assistant. Microsoft has yet another uphill battle before them, as its competitors' services continue to get better and better with each passing day.
I've only just started playing with Google Play Music, finding myself not liking it all that much when compared to Spotify, but maybe I'm just used to Spotify? Well, the Mountain View-based giant has pushed out an update to its music-playing app, adding genre-based radio stations.
There's also some improvements included to the download queue menu, but the new radio stations is the ticket here. They can be selected based on a bunch of pre-defined genres, where you can listen to them from a single tap from the Radio menu of the app. The update to Google Play Music brings it to version 5.2.1204L, and includes the option to pause, resume or cancel downloads that are ongoing.
This is a great option if you're running low on battery, or were about to leave the house and were connected to Wi-Fi and didn't want to eat into your download quota. You can grab the Google Play Music app here, if your smartphone or tablet hasn't already updated.
Today, Microsoft announced that it has released the long-awaited Android and iOS apps for its Xbox Music service. Additionally, the company announced that the apps now feature extended free music streaming, which had previously been exclusive to Windows 8/RT. Much like Spotify, Rdio, and other streaming services, Xbox Music uses your device's Wi-Fi or data plan to stream songs of your choosing to your device.
Unlike Spotify, unfortunately, Xbox Music for Mobile does not yet support off-line playback, but it does, however, come with six months of free streaming, and after those six months are up, users are limited to how much they can stream without purchasing a subscription. Additionally, this free streaming comes to the Xbox Music for the Web, which allows Windows 7 and Vista users to listen to music through the Xbox Music service.
Today, Futuremark announced the release of its 3DMark benchmarking application for iOS. The new app comes a few months after the release of 3DMark for Android and allows both mobile operating systems to run "unlimited" benchmark tests on any Android or iOS device and compare devices across operating systems.
Futuremark says that the new iOS addition of 3DMark includes everything you would need to accurately benchmark the performance of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Users can directly compare 3DMark scores to other devices running iOS, Android, Windows, and even Windows RT, once the RT version is released, of course. The company says that testers will now be ready to benchmark and compare any new devices that Apple may release tomorrow during its press conference.
Futuremark has added a new test to 3DMark specifically designed for making chip-to-chip comparisons across mobile devices and operating systems dubbed 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. This new test can be added to the Android edition of the app by updating to the latest version. Additionally, Futuremark has built a mobile hardware database of all of these scores from the most popular smartphones and tablets that have been benchmarked using the 3DMark application. Check out the sources listed below for both download links as well as a link to the 3DMark mobile hardware database.