OpenGlass project demos how Glass can be useful even if you can’t see

There are some projects that are so cool they send a little shiver down your spine, and for me this is one of those. It shows OpenGlass testing two Glass projects aimed at visually-impaired users.

Question-Answer allows someone to ask what an object is, receive an answer from Twitter users and then hear that answer spoken. Memento allows a sighted user to teach Glass to recognise objects, and will then tell a visually-impaired user what they are looking at …  Read more

Motorola deletes tweet and amends sexually suggestive ads for Moto X

Motorola's tweet, since deleted

Motorola’s tweet, since deleted

You’d have thought that when you’re spending half a billion dollars on marketing a phone, you might be able to decide your strategy beforehand. So far, Motorola seems to be suffering a bad case of indecisiveness, reports Business Insider, deleting the above tweet and revising two ads.

Poor taste or harmless fun? You decide. Before-and-after ads below the fold …

Read more

FBI can remotely switch on the microphone in Android handsets, claims former US official

mic

Photo: digitaltrends.com

A report by the Wall Street Journal on the FBI’s use of hacking tools claims that the Bureau has the capability to remotely switch on the microphones in Android handsets.

With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment …  Read more

New ads show off Moto X ‘Quick Capture’ & always-on voice command features

Motorola just posted a couple new videos showing off some of the unique software features that its including the Moto X. The first, above, shows the Quick Draw, or Quick Capture, feature that allows users to twist their wrist twice to quickly launch the camera app and snap a photo. The second, below, shows the always-on voice commands included with the device that will let users control their device without ever touching it. You can get all the details on specs and availability for the Moto X hereRead more

Motorola officially announces the Moto X, coming late August/early September

Motorola is about to show off its brand new Moto X smartphone at its event this afternoon, but the company just released details regarding specs and availability in a blog post on its website. We noted earlier that it would be arriving on AT&T starting at $199 with some exclusive customization options, but the Moto X will also be coming to handful of other carriers including Sprint, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless (and through BestBuy) later this month and next.

Motorola confirmed specs for the device, which will be assemble in the USA, on a newly launched sign up page.  A few of the notable specs a 4.7-inch HD AMOLED 720 display, 10MP rear camera, 2200 mAh battery with up to 24 hours battery life, 2GB of RAM, and two years of free 50GB storage on Google Drive. A full list of specs is below:

Rear Camera 10MP CLEAR PIXEL (RGBC) / LED Flash / 1080p video (30 fps)
Front Camera 2MP 1080p HD video
Operating system Android 4.2.2
Architecture Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System
RAM 2 GB
Storage 16 GB standard, 32 GB version available online. 2 years 50GB storage free on Google Drive
Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR
WiFi 802.11a/g/b/n/ac (dual band capable), mobile hotspot
Bands GSM/GPRS/EDGE
UMTS/HSPA + up to 42 Mbps
CDMA/EVDO Rev. A (CDMA model only)
4G – LTE

There’s no word on what specific date the device will be hitting each carrier, but Motorola said it will arrive through all of its partners around the end of August, and in Canada and Latin America by early next month.

The over 2,000 customization options for the device will be available through Moto Maker, an online tool that will let customers “choose the colors, and decide on the details: front, back, accents, memory, wallpapers, even add a name or a short message,” although it appears many of them will be available only to AT&T customers for the time being (and soon through BestBuy). On top of the 32 color options and other customization features we’ve heard about, Motorola has plans for additional options later in the year: Read more

Moto X coming to AT&T for $199/$249 with exclusive colors & customization options

Right as Motorola’s event to unveil the much rumored Moto X smartphone is about to kick off, AT&T has just made details official for the device announcing pricing and exclusive color and customization options. Motorola has also posted a sign up page detailing some of the unique features and specs for the device.

The Moto X will be available for $199 for the 16GB model and $249 for the 32GB model, both on AT&T’s usual two-year contract, and include a few features and unique colors available only when ordering through the carrier.

The carrier will also have unique color options for the device including 2 color options for the front and 16 for the back of the device, as well as 7 accent color choices for the power key, volume key and camera ring. We knew that customization would be a big focus for the new Moto X, and it appears that will extend to exclusive customization options for carriers.

AT&T will also be the only carrier to offer the ability to add your name, a wake-up message, or short message on the phone when ordering and a Wake-up message. In addition, AT&T said it will be offering unique wallpapers on its version of the device.

In the video below, the carrier shows off much of what we’ve already seen for the device including the customization options noted above. Specs mentioned in the video include the 4.7-inch 720 HD AMOLED display and the 10mp rear facing camera. You’ll also see some of the software features we saw in the leaked Rogers video including the twist to activate camera feature and the always listening voice commands.  Read more

UK to ban wearing Google Glass while driving

Google_Glass_google_maps

Google Glass seems to be setting new records in the number of prohibitions of a product that hasn’t yet been officially launched.

After being banned everywhere from bars to workplaces, Stuff reports that the British government has announced plans to make it illegal to wear Glass while driving.

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman told Stuff: “We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving. It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.”  Read more

NVIDIA Shield Android handheld gets tear-down treatment as first reviews hit the web

The Frankenstein-like NVIDIA Shield, the handheld games console whose size and weight (1.5 pounds!) makes it seem like something invented in the 1990s, has been given the tear-down treatment by ifixit.

One thing is for sure—with its shields disabled, this device looks nothing like any tablet we’ve ever taken apart … or game console … or anything

Teardown photos and review roundup below the fold …  Read more

Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook goes on sale for $220 shipped at Amazon ($199 refurb)

From 9to5Toys.com:

Amazon is currently running a significant sale on Samsung Chromebooks, knocking $30 off the price and yielding a price of $219.99 with free shipping. We reviewed the Samsung Chromebook and found it a very capable ChromeOS device, especially for its then current $249 price. Amazon reviewers feel the same way, giving it 4/5 star reviews.

It is also the lowest price we’ve seen since Best Buy had the refurbished version for $170 (you can still pick up the refurb for $200 at Best Buy/Cowboom).

Do the price cuts mean new models are on the horizon? Read more

Hulu is just the latest doing Chromecast

Variety has the scoop:

“We are actively working with Google to bring Hulu Plus to the platform,” Hulu rep Meredith Kendall said. “At Hulu, we’re constantly innovating to provide our users with access to their favorite TV shows anytime, anywhere, on any device.”

What a stark contrast to when GoogleTV was released and Hulu blocked, yes BLOCKED, Google TVs from accessing Hulu content.  Yes, a few years makes a big difference and Hulu has since gotten comfortable on set top boxes, but I think the model where Google puts content owners in control has struck a chord with content distributors. They are 100% in control of what goes on Chromecast.

“Here’s how you put your content on a Chromecast. They are $35 and going to be everywhere. Do what you want” works.

Vimeo, HBO, Redbox, and many others are also jumping on board. Read more

Google testing ‘hyper-local news card’ for Google Now

Google_Now_-_Travel_Cards_Update2Google is testing a new “card” for its Google Now service that would display local news that’s contextually relevant to the user. It’s not something that users have been able to try out just yet, but Quartz reports that vice president of search and assist at Google Johanna Wright tells them that Google is currently testing the feature internally.

There’s no word on whether or not the Google Now card would some how be integrated with Google’s current News service, but Wright provides an example of how the “hyper-local news card” might function: Read more

Official Google AdSense Android app now available on Google Play

There are a lot of third-party clients for Android that let users access their AdSense accounts, but today an official app from Google has made its way onto Google Play.

Google says that version 1 of the app provides ” key earnings information, top custom and URL channels, ad units and sites reports, payment alerts,” hinting that a future version will implement some of the other detailed reporting features offered in third-party apps and through AdSense on the desktop.

Unfortunately the app doesn’t appear to be compatible with all devices,  including Google’s own Nexus 7 and many newer devices like the HTC One. Read more