Upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to sport fingerprint tech from Galaxy S5, ship with new software features

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to be unveiled next week at IFA 2014 in Berlin, but as we inch closer to its official unveiling, more and more details continue to surface. Today, we’re hearing (via SamMobile) that the device will sport Synaptics’ Natural ID, which happens to be the same technology found on the Galaxy S5 and expected to be part of the Galaxy Alpha. Not only that, but the Note 4 will apparently also ship with some new software features as well.

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LG G3 teardown reveals that it’s pretty easy to repair

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LG recently revealed its new top-shelf smartphone to the world and while the company talked up its latest handset’s bells and whistles, we’ve yet to see what really makes the G3 tick. Enter the folks at uBreakiFix, who’ve managed to get their hands on the device and tear it apart. Aside from completely revealing the phone’s hardware, this exploratory surgery helps determine the G3′s repairability.

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Report: Google to announce Android TV platform at I/O conference next month

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Google is about to launch a new Android TV platform at its upcoming Google I/O conference in June, according to a new report from GigaOM. The report claims the new platform will be a revamped vision of what Google already has with its Google TV platform and will focus mainly on online content and Android gaming rather than integrating with existing pay TV services:

Android TV won’t be another device, but rather a platform that manufacturers of TVs and set-top boxes can use to bring streaming services to the television. In that way, it is similar to Google TV, the platform the company unveiled at its 2010 Google I/O conference. But while Google TV was focused on marrying existing pay TV services with apps, Android TV will at least initially be all about online media services and Android-based video games.

Google has apparently been making deals with partners in the lead up to launching the new platform, some of which are said to include Netflix and Hulu Plus as well as hardware partners that will build and sell the Android TV devices. The report also shared some details on the Android TV UI: Read more

Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 hit Google Play Store in eight European markets

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We already mentioned that Google’s Chromecast is landing in 11 new countries across North America and Europe, and Google’s transcontinental roll out doesn’t stop there.

As noted by Android Police, both Google’sNexus 5 and Nexus 7 phone and tablet can now be bought on the Google Play Store in several European markets: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden. Read more

Google announces new smart contact lens to help track glucose levels

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Google published a blog post today detailing its newest project: a smart contact lens that can monitor glucose levels for diabetic users. The lens uses a small embedded sensor to measure the glucose in tears and a set of LED lights to signal when levels reach certain thresholds. Google says it has experimented with prototypes that can take readings up to an incredible once per second and completed several clinical trials.

Earlier this month, Google X employees met with the FDA staff responsible for biosensors and medical apps, and it was speculated that the company could be working on a smart contact lens. Google has said it is still discussing the future of such a product with the FDA, and that it will take time before a product like this is mature enough to release to the general public. When the time finally comes for this project to go to market, Google plans to work with unnamed partners to manufacture the devices and get them into the hands of patients and doctors.

And if you think Google is going to stop at glucose monitors, check out the Solve for (X) video below with one of the heads of Google Glass discussing putting the hardware in your contact lens…

Undeterred by Galaxy Gear failure, Samsung planning to launch more wearables

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Samsung’s entry into the world of wearable tech may not have been terribly successful, with dreadful reviews and reportedly poor sales, but the company seems undeterred, promising more wearables this year, reports re/code.

“2014 is actually going to be a really big year,” said Dennis Miloseski, head of studio for Samsung Design America. “We are planning some products around the launch of our flagship devices.”

Samsung’s US design team does appear aware that the company needs to work a lot harder on the aesthetics as well as the functionality …  Read more

More Google Glass hardware specs revealed: OMAP 4430 CPU, 682mb to 1GB of RAM

glassWe already knew that Google Glass would be running Android 4.0.4 and got a look at the official tech specs straight from Google, but until now we didn’t know some of the specifics such as how much RAM and what processor the device is using. Today we details via developer +JayLee (via Selfscreens) that Google Glass reports running a OMAP 4430 CPU similar to that used in the original Kindle (although not other details are available on the processor) and 682mb of RAM. Lee speculates Glass might actually pack in 1GB of RAM: Read more

Motorola advisor Guy Kawasaki hints at rumored customizable hardware for upcoming smartphones

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After joining Motorola as an advisor late last month, former long-time Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki appears to be dropping some big hints about the company’s upcoming plans in the smartphone space. In a post to his Google+ account (via DroidLife), Kawasaki posted a link to a video detailing customization options offered by Porsche and posing the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could personalize your phone like this?”

This has of course lead to speculation that Kawasaki is referring to the ability customize an upcoming Motorola device at the time of purchase, something that recent reports indicate could be in the plans for Motorola’s much rumored X Phone. AndroidandMe and other blogs have reported that the Motorola’s X Phone could include hardware customization options, but also the ability to preload apps, ringtone, wallpapers, etc, features that other devices have offered versions of in the past.

The latest rumors claim X Phone could see an official release by June and its possible we could get our first look at the device in May during Google I/O.

Intel’s reference phone design looks business, packs more oomph than today’s top Android devices

Intel has had little luck putting its chips into smartphones and tablets, as the devices continue to rely predominantly on silicon designs based around Britain’s ARM Holdings technology. Its easy to see why: ARM-licensed chips built by the likes of Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments are famous for their efficiency in terms of CPU performance versus power consumption.

Nevertheless, the world’s largest chipmaker is hoping to turn the tables with the Medfield platform: a 32-nanometer Atom processor for tablets and smartphones. Google and Intel announced a partnership at the Intel Developers Forum 2011 in San Francisco that promises to put Medfield chips in Android devices beginning January 2012.

Intel unveiled a reference design today for Android smartphones using the Medfield architecture. According to Technology Review, prototype hardware is speedier than today’s flagship smartphones without taxing the battery heavily. Medfield-driven Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones and tablets, performance-wise, should be able to play Blu-ray-rated high-definition video, stream to the tube over a wireless network, and take up to 10 8-megapixel images in burst mode. Do not mistaken the above image for an iPhone 4S, because it is just a reference prototype design meant as a guidance for OEMs looking to incorporate Intel’s chips into their products.

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Wearables expert Richard DeVaul jumps ship from Apple to Google

Richard DeVaul, a PhD. scientist from MIT with a focus on building wearable technologies, was snared from Apple this month by Google.  At Apple he was rumored to be working with SVP of Industrial Design, Jonny Ive in Apple’s secret labs building the next big thing.

Besides his having knowledge of the inter-workings of Apple, it is also interesting that DeVaul is a hardware person who has focused on building wearable products for the past decade.  Google has been a software company for all of its existence, but more and more it appears that it will enter the hardware business…but probably in smart accessories rather than phones.

He’ll likely join two former Danger hardware experts in a new Google lab called Google Hardware where his Job Description of “Rapid idea evaluation and prototyping for new projects at Google. ” seems to fit in with Joel Britt and Matt Hershenson are doing.

I wrote about DeVaul’s transition to Apple at Computerworld 18 months ago, excerpted below:

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