Saturday, July 19, 2014

Boot up: Android Wear keyboard, Nerf guns with cameras, Google robots

Minuum keyboard demonstrated on an LG G Watch Minuum Android keyboard leaps onto Android Wear to show that text entry, at least for short messages, doesn't have to be impossibly tedious on a tiny screen. Photograph: Minuum

A quick burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

The design uses a single line of keys for entry, and a predictive algorithm to make a best-guess about what word it is you're looking for. You can use the line of text predictions to quickly autocomplete words, or hold the screen down to access special characters. It still doesn't look quite as easy as thumb typing with two hands on a standard screen, but it's a lot better than trying to rope a full-sized keyboard onto a tiny screen, and it's less socially awkward than speaking into your wrist.

Looks promising. Android Wear really needs something else other than voice input for typing small notes. You don't half look like a burke talking into your watch.

The biggest challenge to the Thread standard is that technology like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both entrenched and universal. Most laptops, phones, tablets, and connected accessories already support one or both, and those standards could evolve to do most of what Thread does before it can gain a foothold in the majority of homes. Competition from other warring 802.15.4 protocols and things like Qualcomm and Microsoft's "AllSeen Alliance" will also affect adoption. The backing of big names like Google, Samsung, and ARM may help Thread, but a big name isn't always enough to establish a new industry-wide standard.

Despite its possible merits, it's just another connection protocol. Do we really need another one? And how will smartphones interface with it?

While the camera sadly doesn't include a zoom function so you can zone in on your target like the pro sniper you probably long to be, you can use the camera with the accompanying controls on the blaster to record those Nerf darts flying through the air to show what an "ace shot" you really are.

Insert appropriate "in my day" comment, here. But really, these would have been great in the 80s.

In addition, all other numbers beginning with 08, such as 084 and 087 numbers, will now only cost 5p per minute to call. The network's new SIM-only plans start at £7 and include data allowances ranging from 500MB to all-you-can-eat. Opting for unlimited data and minutes will set you back £23 per month.

Free phone numbers are now free. A revelation.

The exit of the senior executives continues a series of management changes that include replacing its finance chief in 2012 and the return of Wang to a more hands-on role at the company last year. HTC has posted 11 consecutive quarters of falling revenue amid increased competition and a cut in marketing spending.

Trouble at HTC despite the One M8 picking the company up.

"Some seem to have been removed, but are not any longer - that is part of the reason the list remains short. Until I can verify that an article is being censored consistently across European domains, I cannot put it on the list in good conscience," he said.

More controversy in the "right to be forgotten" fall out. People really don't like having links to stories disappear.

And for people in the US, Cortana is the virtual assistant built around you. She tracks what you care about, helps you become more productive, and even gets better at her job the more she learns about you. Read about the hidden tricks of Cortana here and meet the brains behind it here. She is also pretty good at football predictions.

Only for Americans, but good to see Microsoft's Google Now and Siri rival hit handsets. No word when Cortana will be activated in the UK other than soonish.

Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, who was given the task of controlling Big Dog, said: "I was surprised how well it works. I thought it was going to be stumbling around and lose its footing, but it's actually proven to be pretty reliable and pretty rugged. I'd say 70 to 80 percent of the terrain we go through, it can go through. There are times when it is going to fall over, but most of the time it can self-right and get back up on its own."

Google, now powering battlefields everywhere.

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