Posted by _MD_ on Feb 15, 2012 in Web News | 1 comment
Photo tech firm Scalado has revealed its latest smartphone camera app, Remove, capable of automatically identifying and removing objects in-frame, and perfect for deleting an unwanted uncle from your family gathering. Remove, billed as the world’s first optical removal software for smartphones, builds a composite shot from multiple frames captured in swift succession, picking out possible flaws – such as passing cars or people – and letting you delete them with a tap of the screen.
In fact, Remove can be set to automatically delete any problems it identifies, though you can switch over to manual mode if you decide you’d like to keep something in-frame instead. Obviously the problems themselves have to be moving, since Scalado is cutting out transient objects based on a stationary background.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 23, 2012 in Guides, Reviews | 4 comments
What is HTML5?
We’re sure by now you’ve heard the term “HTML5″ thrown around by the likes of Apple and Google. This is the next evolution of HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, which forms the backbone of almost every site on the Internet. HTML4, the last major iteration of the language, debuted in 1997 and has been subsequently poked and prodded so that it can handle the demands of the modern Web.
HTML4 has been tweaked, stretched and augmented beyond its initial scope to bring high levels of interactivity and multimedia to Web sites. Plugins like Flash, Silverlight and Java have added media integration to the Web, but not without some cost. In search of a “better user experience” and battery life, Apple has simply dropped support for some of these plugins entirely on mobile devices, leaving much of the media-heavy Internet inaccessible on iPads and iPhones. HTML5 adds many new features, and streamlines functionality in order to render these processor-intensive add-ons unnecessary for many common functions.
Assuming content providers sign on (and many are), this means you won’t have to worry about installing yet another plugin just to listen to a song embedded in a blog or watch a video on YouTube. Similarly, this is a big deal for platforms that either don’t support Flash (e.g., iPhone and iPad), or have well documented problems with it (e.g., Linux). It will be a particular boon to those smartphones for which supporting Flash has proven problematic.
Rough Timeline of Web Technologies
2002 Tableless Web Design
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 14, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
This month, DeviceFidelity and Spring Card Systems announced moneto, a new independent NFC payment solution. The service delivers NFC capabilities to any Android device with a microSD card. The card contains an NFC radio and antenna that are encrypted together to deliver MasterCard PayPass technology to any Android smartphone. Additionally, moneto has created a unique iPhone case to deliver the service to iOS users as well. The moneto case is currently available for $80, which includes $10.00 of pre-loaded funds. The Android microSD card is expected to be available within two to three weeks, and will sell for $30. All you have to do to use it, is insert the card, attach a small NFC sticker to the inside of your battery case — it helps with the NFC signal — and you’re on your way to credit card-less mobile payments.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 13, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
We’ve all needed to keep the laundry going while we’re out and about. Samsung is looking to help with that and let us in on their plans at yesterday’s presser. The WF457 washer and dryer set houses an 8-inch touchscreen, is WiFi-enabled and can be controlled from inside or outside of the home via the SmartHome app. With your smartphone or tablet, you can choose the cycle, duration and set-up notifications on your mobile device once the job is done. Neither are available as of yet, but rest assured, this will be a neat piece of tech you should consider. Want a demo? Head on to the full post below for a video.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 12, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Over at Showstoppers, ESI offered up an Android-based desktop phones hoping to bring the world of Google’s OS kicking and screaming onto a business desk near you. The ESI 250 runs on Android Froyo (2.2), with a color display capable of running a limited bunch of (ESI-vetted) third-party Android apps like Evernote, text messaging and visible voicemail and reminders. Looks-wise, aside from the touchscreen, it’s business as usual. The Android interface is a little sluggish, although our major issue is that we want to be handling Gingerbread by now, if not Ice Cream Sandwich. The enterprise phone is pegged for a Q2 launch, with prices pegged at a suitably business-like price of $300 per unit.
Posted by _MD_ on Jan 11, 2012 in Web News | 0 comments
Watching Aurasma in action is very impressive, it is tech that looks like magic. Aurasma is software that picks out objects, shapes, symbols — which are called triggers — with its Virtual Browser and understands what they are. Once the trigger is recognized, relevant content gets pushed across to the user using enhanced reality. For example, we have a look at a $20 bill during our demo and the bill in the phone display starts to deconstruct ending in some pretty serious rah rah sis boom bah. Aurasma is getting traction in advertising and we can only see this growing, it is really addictive fun. Users can grab the app free on either iOS or Android — another mobile platform is coming with a name that doesn’t rhyme with BlackBerry — and get playing and creating. Aurasma also has a pro version — also free — with much more serious development tours for folks that really want to stretch its boundaries. Aurasma has been around for a while now but this is the first chance we’ve had a demo and we were very impressed. Click through to see money do crazy things and a Harry Potter poster come to life.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 8, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition will be available for select new generation iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Android Marketplace next week, December 15th for $4.99. Below is an updated list of devices to be supported at launch.
Apple iOS Devices: iPad 1 & 2, iPhone 4 & 4S, iPod touch 4th Generation
Android Phones: HTC Rezound, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy R, T-Mobile G2x
Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Dell Streak 7, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Toshiba Thrive
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 6, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Imagine yourself at a party or a bar or perhaps at a meeting, now imagine you meet someone new there and become real-life friends with them. The next obvious logical step would be to add them over on Facebook to become friends in the online world, right? Well, if you and your new friend have an NFC-equipped smartphone and have a certain app installed, you can just tap the two together to become Facebook friends! No more of that awkward waiting period between you sending them a request and waiting for confirmation!
This “certain app” is called Add Friend (Facebook). The concept behind Add Friend is based on how, in the modern world, people (apparently) don’t exchange numbers, they exchange Facebook names. It is based on Near-Field Communication technology (used in services like Google Wallet) which allows two devices to exchange data when they are near each other.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 5, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Carrier IQ has recently found itself swimming in controversy. The analytics company and its eponymous software have come under fire from security researchers, privacy advocates and legal critics not only for the data it gathers, but also for its lack of transparency regarding the use of said information. Carrier IQ claims its software is installed on over 140 million devices with partners including Sprint, HTC and allegedly, Apple and Samsung. Nokia, RIM and Verizon Wireless have been alleged as partners, too, although each company denies such claims. Ostensibly, the software’s meant to improve the customer experience, though in nearly every case, Carrier IQ users are unaware of the software’s existence, as it runs hidden in the background and doesn’t require authorized consent to function. From a permissions standpoint — with respect to Android — the software is capable of logging user keystrokes, recording telephone calls, storing text messages, tracking location and more. It is often difficult or impossible to disable.
How Carrier IQ uses your behaviour data remains unclear, and its lack of transparency brings us to where we are today. Like you, we want to know more. We’ll certainly continue to pursue this story, but until further developments are uncovered, here’s what you need to know.
Posted by _MD_ on Dec 3, 2011 in Videography | 1 comment
What’s former Facebook CPO Chris Kelly doing post-Democratic Attorney General run? Why backing a feature length film shot on a smartphone of course! The film, called Olive, went up on Kickstarter today and was shot entirely using a Nokia N8 phone and a specially crafted 35mm lens.
Director Hooman Khalili tells me that what differentiates Olive from other films that have tried the whole “movie shot on a smartphone” gimmick — like The Wrong Ferrari – is that he intends to show the film in theatres. Khalili even wants to submit it for Oscar consideration — which would be a first for a smartphone-shot film.
Olive’s narrative centres around a mysterious little girl that doesn’t speak, and three strangers whose lives she positively affects. Indie actress Gena Rowlands and (another former Facebooker) Randi Zuckerberg also star. The film itself is actually finished, having been financed by Kelly and Bill O’Keefe. The $300K it raises on Kickstarter will go towards distribution, and Khalili 100% guarantees that the film will make at least some big screens after its premier this month.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 16, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Google has refused to rule out extending controversial facial recognition technology, despite being hit by a storm of complaints over privacy. The internet search giant already offers one facial recognition feature through its Picasa photo software, which scans your pictures and suggests matches with other pictures that may include the same people. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt would not rule out a further roll-out, saying: ‘It is important that we continue to innovate.’
However, he said the decision to introduce facial recognition on a wider basis would not be taken lightly. ‘Facial recognition is a good example… anything we did in that area would be highly, highly planned, discussed and reviewed,’ he told the Financial Times.
With facial recognition a face is detected and tagged by the user. It is then rotated so that the eyes are level and scaled to a uniform size and compared with all the other pictures on the user’s database. The system then displays any close matches. There are fears this technology could be added to the Google Goggles tool, which was launched last year. This currently allows people to search for inanimate objects, like the Eiffel Tower, on the internet by taking a picture of it on a mobile phone. However, if combined with facial recognition software, customers could use it to identify strangers on the street. In theory this could make it very easy to track someone’s private information down just by taking a picture of them.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 9, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
It’s another nail in the coffin of expensive, dirty, smelly physical cash and coins. PayPal has released the 3.0 version of its Android app and, through that, users can directly exchange money from one NFC-equipped phone to another. Just add the Request Money widget to your (probably already rather cluttered) desktop, type in an amount, then pick up your Nexus S and do a little fist bump with your best bro’s celly — assuming said bro has a similarly near field communication-equipped Android device. Of course, you can still use Bump to exchange cash if you like, but neither that nor NFC will ensure your friend will ever actually pay you back. Maybe that’s something Bluetooth 4.0 can manage.
Posted by _MD_ on Nov 2, 2011 in Web News | 0 comments
Be jealous no more Android fans! (OK, maybe a little bit longer.) FL Studio is coming to your mobile OS of choice. No longer will it just be iDevice owners who get to channel their inner 9th Wonder on the go. Soon enough the company will release a version of its loop-based music-creation suite designed to work on both phones and tablets running Google’s portable platform. We don’t have a price or release date yet but, as a consolation prize, there’s a video of the progress being made on the port inside.
Posted by _MD_ on Jul 20, 2011 in Photography | 0 comments
With their tiny lenses and even tinier sensors, will cellphone cameras ever be able to take photos as good as those from SLRs and Micro Four Thirds cameras? The quality has all but been taken care of with the latest phone-cams, but there’s one problem common to all point-and-shoots: Their tremendous depth-of-field. A patent from Samsung shows how this could be fixed. For small sensors they propose to use two cameras in a phone, almost like a stereoscopic 3D camera. The main one takes the shot as usual whilst a lower resolution camera takes another shot. The offset between them lets the camera work out the depth of anything in the frame. This information is then processed and digital blur applied to wash out the background.
Posted by _MD_ on Jul 9, 2011 in Web News | 1 comment
Android’s share of the smartphone market is still blowing away all competitors in the U.S. according to new data from comScore. The only company that’s hanging on is Apple, which saw its share of the market tick up ever so slightly.
If you’re thinking about writing a mobile app, in the US, the Apple App Store had about 300,000 apps at the end of 2010, twice the number available the previous year, according to Distimo, a mobile analytics firm. The newer Google Android Market has about 200,000, eight times the number available in 2009. Both Nokia’s Ovi Store, which offered 25,000, and BlackBerry App World, which had 18,000, were growing at triple-digit rates at the end of 2010.