Friday, April 17, 2015

Google Handwriting App

Google has a new Android app designed to capture your on-screen penmanship.

The app, called Google Handwriting Input, is designed to allow users to "write" on a smartphone or tablet touchscreen. It automatically interprets letters and transforms them into standard digital text. The feature works with or without a stylus -- so go ahead and use your fingers -- and can interpret 82 languages. Developed by the company's research team, Handwriting Input can identify both cursive and print handwriting, and accepts emojis.

"Using handwriting as an input method can allow for natural and intuitive input method for text entry which complements typing and speech input methods," Google's Research team wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Google's handwriting app has company. Microsoft's Windows versions over the years have featured handwriting recognition on tablet PCs. Indeed, the feature has been used in the corporate world for many years where employees can turn to tablet PCs to quickly take notes or fill out forms.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New MacBook is a Nightmare

Apple's new 12-in. MacBook is a "repair nightmare," as tough on do-it-yourselfers as 2012's first Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, according to iFixit.

"The internals are unnecessarily complex; it's a minefield of pentalobe and tri-wing screws, fragile cables snaked around essential components, and a solidly-glued-down multi-cell battery," iFixit reported on its blog Wednesday. "Tack on the non-upgradeability, and the Retina MacBook is a repair nightmare."

San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based iFixit -- one of the Web's best-known electronics repair firms -- awards repairability scores between 1 and 10 to devices after pulling them apart. It gave the MacBook a "1," the same slapped on the first MacBook Pro with a high-resolution display nearly three years ago. At that time, iFixit said the Retina MacBook Pro was the "least-repairable laptop we've taken apart."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New E-Fun Tablets

E FUN, the fifth largest tablet supplier in the U.S.*, announces the availability of its first Android 2-in-1, the Nextbook Ares 11, an 11.6" tablet with detachable keyboard. Larger than a tablet yet smaller than a laptop, this versatile 2-in-1 combines the best of both devices. Those looking for entertainment will love its portability and multitude of apps, while it's ease of use will prove convenient for work. The Nextbook Ares 11 is available now at Walmart stores nationwide and for $197.                                                    
Featuring a detachable backlit keyboard, the Nextbook Ares 11 is an affordable solution for students, professionals and casual users. It features:
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with Google Play
  • Detachable backlit keyboard with two standard 2.0 USB ports
  • 1366 x 768 IPS capacitive touch screen
  • Quad-Core Intel® AtomTM Z3735F Processor (X86, 1.8GHz)
  • 1GB DDR3L system memory
  • 64GB onboard storage memory, microSD supports up to 64GB additional
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 2.0 megapixel front and rear cameras
  • miniHDMI, microUSB, and microSD ports
  • 9000mAh internal rechargeable battery
Unlike tablets, the Ares 11 comes with a full-sized, detachable keyboard, perfect for getting work done no matter where life takes you. For those more interested in entertainment, the Ares 11 is great for watching movies and TV shows through VUDU or Flixster, playing games from the Google Play store with its 3-axis G-sensor, or reading an eBook from the preloaded Barnes and Noble NOOK for Android app.
The 11.6" screen and 16:9 aspect ration means these entertainment options are all available in high definition. For the ultimate experience, these great features can be enjoyed on the big screen with the Ares 11's built in miniHDMI port, allowing users to mirror the device directly onto any compatible TV.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Samsung Smartphone Sales

Samsung Electronics said Monday it Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are hot-sellers at home and abroad.

Sales of the new smartphones are expected to gain additional momentum given strong global demand.

Samsung is expected to breach the 10 million sales mark just 26 days after their global launch on April 10, faster than previous models, sources said.

"The two new phones are drawing impressive responses. Samsung aims to ship 10 million S6s and S6 Edges in 26 days after the devices' global launch. That target is achievable," said a source.

The target is on top of 20 million pre-orders it has received globally for the two phones.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Android Updates

It usually takes months for mobile devices to get Android updates, but Intel and Google want to slash the wait time.

Tablets and smartphones made as part of a new Intel mobile-device development program will be able to receive new Android versions and features in two weeks via over-the-air upgrades.

Intel's program, called Reference Design for Android, provides a blueprint for device makers to build tablets, smartphones and phablets with a consistent set of components and system images. The hardware consistency will make updating Android in mobile devices much easier.

The quick delivery of updates will keep mobile devices fresh and "always available with the latest capabilities in Android," said Doug Fisher, senior vice president and general manager for the Software and Services Group at Intel.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Computer on a Stick

It look a little longer than expected, but Intel’s Compute Stick PC is up for pre-order through some online stores.

The stick-sized computer is available from Newegg with Windows 8.1 on board. If you’re the type that always spells “Microsoft” with a dollar sign, Newegg is also selling the Linux version for $110. Liliputing reports that it comes with Ubuntu 14.04. The price for the Linux Compute Stick was supposed to be $89, but we’ve yet to see it anywhere for that cheap.

Regardless of operating system, the Compute Stick comes with an Intel Atom quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It plugs directly into a monitor or TV via HDMI, and is powered through a Micro USB jack on the side of the stick. There’s also a full-sized USB port, and Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting a mouse and keyboard.

Intel originally planned to ship the Compute Stick in March, but Newegg is listing a release date of April 24 for both models. A similar dongle with BeeLink branding is already available, but from more obscure retailers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New Chromebooks

A new generation of low-cost Chromebooks is on the way, running the Intel Braswell chips that are expected to debut later this week.

The new Braswell chips include new Celeron and Pentium processors, which will support both Chrome OS and Windows, said sources familiar with Intel's product plans. More details on Braswell will be shared at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen this week.

New Chromebooks running Braswell are expected in the coming months from top PC makers, as well as from low-cost manufacturers China who might bring the price point down to less than $200. Braswell will also appear in low-cost Windows laptops, desktops and tablets.

Intel first announced the Braswell chips a year ago, but shipments were delayed due to problems with the company's 14-nanometer manufacturing process.

Chromebooks, favored by some who do most of their computing on the Internet, are powered by a range of Intel or ARM processors. Most Chromebooks priced starting at $200 to $300 have aging Celeron processors based on the Bay Trail architecture, which Braswell will replace. The fastest and most expensive Chromebooks such as Google's Chromebook Pixel have Intel's Core chip, which packs more horsepower than Celeron or Pentium processors.

The new Celeron and Pentium chips could also be Intel's answer to last week's release of sub-$200 ARM-based Chromebooks from Haier, HiSense and Asustek. Chromebook shipments are rising in a flat PC market, and have become a new battleground for Intel and ARM, who also compete in servers and mobile devices.