Other SmartPhones

Microsoft announces Windows in the car

Microsoft has announced today that they are launching “Windows in the Car” as a competitor to apple’s Car Play. Microsoft is no stranger to in car entertainment systems and has been powering a number of manufacturers systems for years. But now, Microsoft is starting to look in creating its own solution, based on Windows Phone however with a lot of similarities to CarPlay.

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This announcement comes not long after Microsoft have also announced a competitor to Siri, making me think that Microsoft are ramping up the competition before apple’s latest product launch with the iPhone 5s this summer.

 

The system is currently still in the theory stage however the fact that Microsoft is thinking about going into direct competition with apple means they must be confident about its potential as a competitor to CarPlay.

The plans for the system currently mean that the car’s touch screen display would mirror the display of your smartphone, allowing it to display Maps, Texts and Caller ID in the same manner it would on your windows phone, hopefully just without the blue screens we are used to!

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Cortana is coming to Windows phone 8.1

CortanaMicrosoft has announced today that they will be launching a competitor to siri, the virtual assistant from apple. This new assistant from Microsoft is named Cortana after the Artificial Intelligence from the Halo series on xbox. Cortana was an advanced form of AI who actually controlled the entire spacecraft in the halo series, Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 however has a little less power, but still sufficient to control the features of your mobile phone.

Cortana is powered by Microsoft’s own search engine Bing and sometimes this is very noticeable as if you happen to say anything that she doesn’t quite understand, you will find yourself redirected to a bing search for “text messages” when you really just wanted her to read out your new message!

Cortana is designed to learn about users by asking questions and monitoring user activity, interacting through both text and speech. She has access to all of your files and notes on your phone and can learn by interpreting your data and storing the information that she learns in her notebook.

Microsoft designed the feature based on real personal assistants, giving Cortana a Notebook to work from. The Notebook can be described as a settings page, allowing users to designate what Cortana can track. In her Notebook, Cortana stores information like personal interests, relationships with people, frequently visited places, appointment dates, quiet hours, and more.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the following about Cortana’s “Notebook”

It’s her view of you, but clearly you can just snatch it from her at any time and say ‘That’s not right, I don’t want you to know this’ or ‘I’m not comfortable with you reading my email, So you have complete control over what she knows and she’s transparent about it.

Entries in the Notebook are stored in the cloud, and you can share contact information with it, as well as your interests, home and work locations, and more. The notion of Cortana acting as a personal assistant with a notebook— as opposed to a creepy stalker — has been drilled into the team from the beginning, they say.

Cortana is a core function of Windows Phone 8.1, replacing the existing search function. Like Siri she can schedule reminders, but Cortana’s functionality is somewhat more powerful, allowing reminders to be tied to people and locations. For example, Cortana can be asked to give a reminder to discuss a certain topic when calling a contact, with that reminder popping up when a call is placed.

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The digital assistant also offers a daily summary of information, similar to what can be found in Apple’s own Notification Center. Cortana lists upcoming appointments, reminders, weather information, and more. She can, with permission, track user email to pull out information like airline reservations.

Like Siri, Cortana has a personality. She has witty responses for certain questions, such as “Who is your father?” to which she replies, “Technically speaking, that’d be Bill Gates. No big deal.” Displayed as a circle on a phone screen, she’s also able to express 16 different emotions.

cortanamobile

While Siri has not been opened up to developers or third parties, Microsoft is releasing an SDK. Cortana will also integrate with services like Hulu, Twitter & Facebook allowing people to use voice commands to launch television shows or send a tweet.

Cortana remains in the early beta stages, as there are plenty of bugs with the software that still need to be worked out. Windows Phone 8.1 will launch soon, scheduled for late April or early May, but unfortunately Cortana will only be available in the United States for the time being.

Let us know what you think in the comments

Facebook Home For Android

Facebook Chat Heads for Android

Facebook Chat Heads for Android

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook has today announced “Facebook Home” which is set to be a revolutionary new home screen for Android users. Facebook is trying to flip the user experience on its head saying that users will navigate their phone “through people, not apps”.

Zuckerberg hosted a Q&A Session after the announcement event at which the obvious question was asked, when will this be coming to iOS? the answer is in the short term its not, as apple has created a closed source operating system facebook is not able to replace the iOS home screen with its own, like it does on the open source android operating system. This means that the only way Facebook Home is coming to iOS is if apple works alongside facebook to make it happen, which personally i can’t see happening anytime soon.

[ad 1]The concept behind Facebook Home is that instead of seeing an application or an icon, facebook has designed the interface to focus on people, for example merging all emails and texts from the same person into one super complicated conversation.

Facebook claims users unlock their phone around 100 times per day, and for this reason they are redesigning the concept behind the lock screen on the Android phone to give users a slide show of photos and updates from their Facebook News Feeds.

Facebook Home also includes feature called ‘chat heads’, which keep’s any ongoing SMS and Facebook messages on top of every app on the phone for easy access. (see below)

Facebook Home is due to be launched on the 12th April however it will only be available on certain handsets, these are currently set to be the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II. For future updates and more information keep your eye on facebook’s announcement website https://live.facebooklive.com/.

Facebook Chat Heads for Android

Facebook Chat Heads for Android

Samsung S9110 - "The World's Slimmest Watchphone"

Samsung confirms its working on a SmartWatch

Samsung has confirmed that they are indeed working on a SmartWatch project which would be similar in concept to the Apple iWatch as we previously wrote about.

Samsung S9110 - "The World's Slimmest Watchphone"

Samsung S9110 – “The World’s Slimmest Watchphone”

We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said during an interview in Seoul. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

Lee had no comment on what features the watch may have, how much it would cost and when it would go on sale.

Both watches are scheduled to be released later on this year and it appears as if the two rival companies will be going head to head on this one with both expected to be around a similar price mark.

Lots of rumours are flying around at the moment with two of the largest handset manufacturers now going head to head in a new market however it is generally thought that Samsung will be able to produce a cheaper device as the company own’s its own chip set and display manufacturing facilities which are thought to be two of the most expensive components inside a SmartWatch.

[ad 1]Apple has been quoted to currently have around 100 employees working on the SmartWatch project looking into features such as a curved glass screen, integrated bio-sensors such as pulse or temperature, and GPS mapping functionality. The watch is said to be running a full version of iOS rather than a stripped down version like on the iPod nano which means app development should be a lot better for this device.

Samsung to beat Apple to the smart-watch marketplace?

Some images have surfaces on a Korean website of what seem to be Samsung’s take on the Pebble and the upcoming iWatch, its currently unclear weather the device will function as a stand alone watch or weather it will rely on a bluetooth connection like the other devices we have seen recently.

SamsungiWatch

The current rumour believes that the project is codenamed Altius however this doesn’t quite match up as this is also reportedly the codename for the Samsung Galaxy S IV expected to launch mid April, however this handset has also had different code names so it may just be a coincidence!

The device itself appears to be running an OS called AltiusOS beta2 and the interface is nearly identical to the new Windows Phone and Windows 8 tiles. The screenshots are also 500 x 500px and so this may be an indication of the resolution of the display.

[ad 1]Its also worth noting that Sony have also got a upcoming product similar again to this concept with their Android compatible SmartWatch.

What do you think of the concept? is this something you would actually buy? Sign up and leave us a comment, we love to get an idea what our actual readers opinions are!

Real fake iPhone 5 created by a Chinese manufacturer

Goophone i5A Chinese manufacturer has created a real phone called the Goophone i5 which is designed to look like the leaked images of the new iPhone 5, and runs on android.

The new iPhone is rumored to be taller and the Goophone sports a 940 x 640 pixel screen measuring 3.5”, a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. Which all in all doesn’t sound like a bad phone!

The devices tech specs match up with current generation smartphones and so this isn’t simple a gimmick, this could be a real functioning iPhone knock off based on current generation iPhone handsets, or a completely re-designed android handset made to fit in an iPhone case, either way this could get interesting.

goophone-i5-2There aren’t many more details available at the moment such as pricing of availability, surprisingly however this does seem to be a real product which will go on sale in the near future, providing apple doesn’t quickly take legal proceedings against the release of such a device.

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