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Shiny_Tango.JPGWritten by Diane Shipley.

Google has released the specs of its new prototype: a 7-inch tablet that has 128 GB of internal storage, 4 GB of RAM, and runs Android 4.4 KitKat, powered by a NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor. More importantly, it also comes with 3D sensors and a motion-tracking camera, allowing it to create realistic models of its immediate environment.

It's part of the company's Project Tango initiative, which aims to bring 3D to mobile. Google's experimental Advanced Technology and Projects group announced its first Project Tango device, a 3D sensor-enabled smartphone, back in February and the first prototypes were distributed to 200 developers hand-picked by Google.

Now they're taking applications from developers who want to splash out $1,024 on the tablet development kit, which will include the hardware and all the software they need to design apps for the new device. Google hopes coders will be inspired to create applications that make use of 3D tracking and motion sensors, which could be used to improve navigation, interior design, accessibility for disabled people, and gaming. (For starters.)

No timescale yet as to when the tablet might make its way into customers' excited little hands, but we're expecting to see a demonstration of its capabilities at the Google I/O developer conference, which takes place in San Francisco on June 25-26th.

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It looks like things could've been very different if Dyson hadn't decided to shelve a working smartglasses prototype more than 10 years before Google's Glass was created. And here we were thinking that the company just created vacuum cleaners.

The Dyson Halo was originally developed in 2001, and was a pair of augmented reality goggles featuring a full-colour 3D heads-up display. Sound familiar?

The glasses were head-mounted on a frame that sat around the back of the head and were powered by a pocket computer. Halo worked as a communications device, but also as a pocket PC, using audio and visual prompts to overlay information on the real world.

The headset used two mirrors to reflect the display of two tiny monitors mounted by the wearers' temples into the eyes to create the illusion of a translucent 10in screen, projected about 1m in front of the eyes.

Not only did Dyson create smartglasses before the giant search engine firm, but it also created something resembling Apple's Siri - a virtual assistant to help the headset wearer, that could read out emails and interpret basic voice commands.

Users typed on a projected virtual keyboard which could track finger motions, while a wrist-worn device acted as a mouse pointer. The headset could also be used as a simple display for a separate computer.

The project ran for three years, but was eventually shelved as part of Dyson's focus on the US, but details of it were released as part of the company's 21st birthday.

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If you were getting jealous of Google's Glass owners, don't be too upset just yet, as some new owners have taken to Twitter to complain of headaches caused by their $1500 gadgets - and even Google's own medical advisor was today forced to admit there is a problem.

Users have complained of headaches and sharp pains caused by the device, which places a small screen at the top right of the user's field of vision. Google's medical adviser says the problem is because of the placement of the screen, and warned new users to 'take it easy' as they adjust.

One twitter user, Paul Bilodeau, tweeted: "Got my Glass headache. It's going to take some getting used to."

Writers from Tech blog Betabeat also claim they suffered issues when first using the device:

"After Betabeat tried Google Glass for the first time at Google HQ in New York, both writers experienced a sharp pain after about ten minutes, which went away shortly after we took it off."

Dr. Eli Peli, the Harvard optometrist who consults for Google on the project, said the problem was people getting used to the screen position.

Speaking to Betabeat, Dr. Peli said: "'The only people who look up a lot are some professionals like electricians and painters. If you're looking at the Glass for a minute, you're holding it there for sixty times longer than normal.

"The pain goes away for most users after a few days to a week. The recommendation is to not overdo it when you start."

For this reason, some users have called for clearer warnings to be given for new users.

Google told MailOnline: 'When anyone gets a new pair of Glasses or starts wearing them for the first time there is always an adjustment period until people get used to them.

"Glass is designed for micro-interactions, not for staring into the screen, watching Friday night movie marathons or reading 'War and Peace."

Has this made you think twice about Glass, or are you still just as desperate for a pair? Even if they do look incredibly geeky, we still definitely want to get our hands on a pair!

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Ending one of the highest profile lawsuits in technology, Apple and Google have finally agreed to settle all patent litigation between them over smartphone technology.

In a joint statement, the companies said the settlement does not include a cross licence to their respective patents, but Apple and Google have agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform.

The two companies informed a federal appeals court in Washington that the cases should be dismissed, according to filings, but the deal does not appear to apply to Apple's litigation against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, as no dismissal notices were filed in those cases.

However, patent expert Florian Mueller says the deal could mean an end to that dispute is also in sight.

He writes: "At first sight one would assume that this Apple-Google agreement makes a near-term Apple-Samsung settlement much more likely, but this depends on whether Apple's decision-makers have fully realised just how non-thermonuclear their patent portfolio is"

He also believes the settlement was due to both sides realising they were unlikely to win outright:

"They had to recognise that under the procedural circumstances their patents were not strong enough to give either party decisive leverage over the other, at least not anytime soon."

The original court case began in 2010, when Motorola, owned by Google, accused Apple of infringing several patents, including one essential to how mobile phones operate on a 3G network, while Apple said Motorola violated its patents to certain smartphone features.

Thankfully now, the war is over. We do love a happy ending!

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Google looks set to go further in its plan to take over the world, having acquired yet another app.

The search giant has revealed that its has acquired the makers of Word Lens, an app that can translate printed words between languages without the need for a network connection.

Designed to help users read foreign signs and menus; the app is so popular is was recently showcased by Apple in one of its TV ads - something unlikely to happen now!

Quest Visual, developer of the app, confirmed the deal but didn't disclose any details.

A statement made by the company said: 'With Word Lens, we've seen the beginnings of what's possible when we harness the power of mobile devices to 'see the world in your language

"By joining Google, we can incorporate Quest Visual's technology into Google Translate's broad language coverage and translation capabilities in the future."

The app supports a variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian, and is available on iOS and Android, as well as Google's Glass wearable computer.

Both the Word Lens app and the language packs are free to download, while they transition to Google.

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Today Google has launched its highly-anticipated eyewear device, Google Glass, to the masses. But how many will cough up the cash for the controversial new wearable?

If you weren't one of the "chosen ones" (officially known as Explorers) to trial Glass early AND didn't get up in time for the exclusive 24 hour sale, then today is the first time you'll have been able to get your hands on a pair of Google Glass.

According to a post on the tech giant's Google+ page, the Explorer programme is still continuing, but now anyone can join:

"We learned a lot when we opened our site a few weeks ago, so we've decided to move to a more open beta. We're still in the Explorer Program while we continue to improve our hardware and software, but starting today anyone in the US can buy the Glass Explorer Edition, as long as we have it on hand."

But hold on Google fan boys and girls. There are two big catches here. The first is you have to be US-based to buy the new wearable. The second may come as a shock to those who assumed the Glass would come down in price as time went on, because it'll still cost you a pretty hefty $1,500.

Although Google explains it's still in a "more open beta" stage of its Glass project, we're fascinated to see what more "regular" (and not to mention rich!) people think of the device over the next few weeks as they try it out for themselves.

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Gmail may finally be getting a radical new overhaul of its layout, if images from Geek are anything to go by.

The most noticeable difference is the fly-in menu system on the left, in place of the annoying tab system it has at the moment. The new layout also includes a collapsible Hangouts section, which allows you to open up everything you want to see, while shrinking the window down so you can glance at your inbox whenever you need to.

The new interface also includes a pin system, replacing the stars used at the moment, as a way of bringing focus to important emails. These can be toggled on and off if you want to see your email in chronological order instead.

There's no expected release date for any of these features, or even a guarantee that Google will implement them in exactly the same way that Geek has shown them, but we're really hoping at least some of these features make the cut. We guess we'll just have to wait until Google actually announce it to find out for certain...

google now shopping copy.jpgEver been shopping online to then see the same shoes you were thinking of buying appear on EVERY web page you visit for the next week? Well that's called retargeting and not only is it really annoying, but (in our personal experience) it never makes us go back and buy the shoes. In fact, we get so sick to death of seeing the shoes we begin to despise them and the brand that's forcing them to haunt us everywhere we go.

Well, it looks like Google Now is set to bring retargeting into our everyday lives and offline shopping experiences. According to an update on Google's Google+ profile, the tech giant's new digital personal assistant will alert you when you're walking past a shop which stocks that dress you had your eye on.

Now admittedly we're really tired of online retargeting, but we can definitely see the benefit in Google Now presenting us with this kind of information when we're out and about. Not only would it make shopping easier and much more stress-free, but it'd also mean we're less likely to make online shopping mistakes because it's simpler than ever to find things in store. But if it grinds your gears just as much as its online equivalent, then it's easy to turn off too.

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Last October Google announced that a dedicated team had started working on an exciting modular and fully-customisable smartphone that could well change the way we look at the mobile phone industry for good.

Code-named Project Ara, the smartphone will consist of one framework and a series of separate sections. The thinking behind it is that people will be able to swap out these different sections as easily as buying a new app, completely changing their phone as they go.

We've heard a relatively small amount about Google's ambitious plans - apart from the odd photo and teaser video. But this week a few new details have emerged following the first Project Ara developer conference, which took place at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Until we learn more about what took place at the conference, here's everything we already know about Google's Project Ara and its exciting plans for a fully-modular smartphone:

You'll be able to customise EVERYTHING about your phone

The Project Ara device will consist of an endo (short for endoskeleton), which is a basically a chassis to hold everything together. Onto this framework you're than able to attach any module you like. So are you into mobile photography? Attach an awesome, huge camera and a flash. Get mad when your phone runs out of charge? Add a much bigger battery. Like to show off about how big your gadgets are? Get a screen that's MASSIVE. You get the picture.

It'll (probably) be ready early next year

Those at the Project Ara developer conference have revealed that some users will be able to order their Ara from January 2015.

But it might start its life out as a cheap device in developing countries

Although the Project Ara smartphone may sound like something for early adopters and tech geeks, it looks as if Google might concentrate on launching the modular devices to those who don't have phones already first. With this in mind, it's set to be very cheap to begin with (possibly around $50) and only have the basics attached. People will then be able to add more as and when they need to.

It's much slimmer than you'd imagine...

If we told you that Google is building a phone out of lots of different blocks, you'd think it'd be a chunky toy-like device, right? Well according to sources and early prototypes, it'll only be 9.7mm thick. Surprising, but necessary if it's going to compete with current smartphones on the market.

....And it won't fall to bits as easily as you'd expect

Not only is the Ara smartphone not going to be super thick, but it isn't going to fall apart like a lame Jenga-version of a phone. All of the different components will be attached to the Endo skeleton using a series of super strong magnets on the back and small latches on the front.

It'll come in a few different sizes

According to those at the conference, there won't just be one endo to choose from, but three. Sizes are expected to range from a mini version to one that's much more like the sizes of the phablets we've seen from Samsung, Sony and HTC.

It won't be a Google-branded product (well not all of it)

The Endo base of the Ara will be Google-branded, but everything else, the battery, the camera, the screen, will be produced by other companies. This is great because it means lots of smaller, third party companies can get involved, but it also means enough need to get involved and see a future for the Ara to make it a success.

It could really change the industry (and it could also be a massive anti-climax)

If Project Ara is successful it'll mean that we'll be happier with our phones for much longer. If you're able to customise everything about your device, then why would you need a new one? You'd just swap out a bigger camera for a smaller battery, buy different coloured components to give your gadget a refresh or buy a finger-scanning module that's just as good as what the latest smartphone has to offer.

On the other hand, there's a long way to go before this ambitious project is actually turned into a working device anyone will want. After all, is a customisable smartphone something that we're all after? Or just the next big thing?

Let us know whether you'd love to get your hands on a modular device or whether you'll stick with the flavour of the month instead.


For one day only this week anyone (well, anyone in the US with cash to burn) could get their hands on a pair of Google Glass.

However, with such a small window to buy them, a large price tag and a lot of criticism about how they look, we bet a lot of early adopters will be on the hunt for alternative options now instead.

We've collected together our top five Google Glass alternatives, including a pair that looks the same, a pair that are as stylish as regular glasses and a few that aren't launching until the summer.

Let us know in the comments below which you're most excited about.

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1. Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses

The Moverio BT-200 glasses are Epson's attempt at building a state-of-the-art augmented reality experience attached to your face. Although they may look a little bulkier than others on the list - think Geordi La Forge in Star Trek - they have a dual-screen for a 3D display and a front-facing camera to capture video and pick up markers for AR apps.

The BT-200 glasses are also packing a number of head-motion sensors, a gyroscope, accelerometer and compass sensors. Like most of the devices on the list it's running on a version of Android.

The Moverio BT-200 glasses are expected to launch in the next few months and will cost around $700. For more info take a look at the BT-200's specs over at the Epson website.

2. GlassUp

The GlassUp finished a little short of its Kickstarter funding goal, but it went ahead with Indiegogo instead and received all of its money to make the project a reality.

The glasses are designed to alert wearers of real-time information that's happening on their phones, like incoming emails, texts and social media updates.

Although this may just sound like a glorified smartwatch or hands-free headset, it comes with apps built-in, like apps and TripAdvisor that provide wearers with turn-by-turn directions and ratings on places to visit and hotels.

The GlassUp is due to have a June 2014 release date and is available to pre-order now for about £184.

3. LaForge Optical Acis

The LaForge Optical Acis is designed to look like a regular pair of glasses, and - like many other devices on the list - you can get your prescription lenses added into them.

Their functionality is fairly basic in comparison to the Glass, serving up a series of notifications about what's going on on your smartphone, but it also has a built-in camera and microphone too.

The Acis is only available as part of a beta testing programme for now, and for $820 you can get on the list to start trialling the glasses in the summer.

4. Ion Eyewear WeOn Glasses

The WeOn glasses may look a lot more stylish than every other competitor on the list, but their functionality is pretty basic. These glasses will alert you of notifications on your phone with a series of colourful LED lights, and that's about it.

They're much more for the style-conscious and allow you to add your own prescription lenses, which for $125 makes them cheaper than some non-flashing designer frames.

5. Vuzik M100

Vuzix claims its M100 glasses are the world's first commercially available smart glasses and they certainly beat Google Glass as they've been available for the past few months and are much cheaper at $999.99.

Unlike Glass the device only covers one eye, but it does come with the same on-board 5 megapixel camera with the ability to record in HD. Funnily enough, it also runs an Android-based operating system, meaning it's compatible with a whole load of apps.

The M100 has a range of sensors on-board, like an accelerometer and a compass, which makes it ideal for a more industrial, medical and retail focused target audience.

For more information visit Vuzix.com.

Remember Project Ara? It's Google's big plan to create a modular smartphone, which would allow people to pick and choose exactly how their mobile phone would look and operate based on a series of blocks, or modules.

Well the Google team has released a new video all about Project Ara and the people behind it, which reveals a load of interesting details about what the future of our smartphones could look like.

Watch the video and you'll see an early prototype that shows the different modules are kept in place with magnets, as well as how the phone could look with a bit of added styling.

We're hoping to find out much more about Project Ara at the Ara Developer Conference on the 15th and 16th of April.

nike air max-big.jpgTomorrow it's the 27th birthday of Nike's iconic Air Max trainers and to celebrate ASOS and Nike are teaming up to wow us all with a Google+ Hangout that'll feature tips about the best ways to style your sneakers.

It sounds like a solid social media plan that's bound to draw in a few Nike fans, but it's a huge deal for Google+ because the Hangout will make use of a new +Post ad unit that appears right in your Google+ News Feed. People who are served the ad will be able to watch the Hangout and then buy the products that are being touted all from within the Google+ platform.

Although Google added in +Post ads late last year, this is the first time brands will allow consumers to shop directly from an ad unit. We've seen similar fashion brands attempt to sell their products by using smart ways to dress up video content - like French Connection's Youtique - but maybe this is how Google+ will prove it's a destination brands really should pay more attention to.


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It seems Google has finally had enough of people criticising its new Glass wearable device and has taken to its Google+ Google Glass page (of course) to explain why it's awesome and not creepy/stalkery/lame.

A post called Top 10 Google Glass Myths discusses a number of top myths, like Glass is the ultimate distraction from the real world, Glass is banned everywhere and Glass marks the end of privacy. Although the responses to these myths are clearly written by someone wearing rose-tinted Google Glass, we do applaud Google's efforts to break down some of these barriers.

Google also shared a few images along with the post and the most interesting has to be the one documenting the evolution of Glass, which you can see above. It's certainly come a looooong way.

Chromecast coming to the UK on March 1st

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British users wanting another way to get internet content on their telly have some good news coming next month: the high street retailer Currys are due to start selling the diminutive dongle from March 1st.

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If you've never heard of Chromecast, don't worry - it has flown rather under the radar as Google have cautiously built the device up over the last year or so. Essentially, it's a USB-stick style dongle, that plugs into your TV into a spare HDMI slot.

Once setup, it connects to your wifi network and will allow you to wirelessly stream content straight to your TV from your computer, phone or tablet at the click of a button. For example - if you browse YouTube with a Chromecast on the network, a button will appear in each video's toolbar offering the chance to play it through the TV instead.

On a technical level, the way it works is that the dongle is essentially a miniature computer - the dongle runs a version of Google's own Chrome OS - so it can run videos independent of the device that triggered them (ie: you can start a film playing on Netflix, and then switch your computer off without stopping it).

The limitation until now, for American users of the device has been the limited number of supported services on the device - apart from YouTube, support has been thin on the ground with only Netflix, Hulu (the American equivalent of iPlayer) and a few others offering Chromecast support. This looks set to change as, almost in-line with the UK release, Google have opened up the software development kit - which means many more websites and apps will be able to support it very soon indeed. Fingers crossed this means that we'll get support for the likes of the iPlayer and 4oD.

What's especially attractive about the Chromecast as a device is the price: we're expecting it to be around £40 at the most - making it a no-brainer for those who have so far resisted getting connected in the living room. Look out for it from March 1st!

google-nexus7.pngSome big-ish news from Google today which today brings the Nexus 7 tablet to the UK while at the same time announcing a price cut on its, Nexus 4 handset.

The tablet comes in two flavours - a 16GB model will set you back £199, while the 32GB model is a still very competitive £239. There's no delivery charge either.

As for specs it sports a 7.02-inch 1920 x 1200 HD IPS display with 323ppi and Corning Gorilla Glass on the front. Inside its has a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM, and it comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean pre-installed.

There is also a 5-megapixel camera is on the rear and a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front. NFC, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are all present and correct and its has a abtey life of around nine hours.

As for the Nexus 4 smartphone it is now down to £159 for the 8GB model and £199 for the 16GB model.

googleplay.jpgThe big news this morning is that Google Music, which was announced in the spring and has been working in the US for several months now, has become available in the UK and other European countries.

You can sign up now and get a month for free and then pay an intro rate of £7.99 per month. It will eventually cost £9.99.

But what is it and how does it stack up against the current king of online music Spotify?

The similarities

In many ways the services have a lot in common, They both allow you to stream whole albums and the catalogue of tracks they boast is very similar. There's no Beatles or Led Zeppelin on either of them, but then you guessed that already. They both have deals with companies to deliver new albums though Spotify has the edge on indie and European music for now.

The music discovering offerings are also similar too with Google Music including offering up recommendations on what to listen to next based on your listening habits.
Listeners can also turn any song into a "radio station", with the service intelligently creating an endless playlist of songs based around the artist and track you've selected, with each song complementing your original choice.

Both services stream music at a maximum of 320kbps.

But there are some key differences

Price - Spotify has a lot more flexibility here. For starters it has a free ad supported version - Google starts at £7.99 a month. Spotify's PC only version is cheaper too at £5.99 per month. For the full versions both will come in at £9.99 a month (though Google has an introductory offer of £7.99) which will let you listen to and store songs on mobile. Google scores here as you can store up to 20,000 tracks, a lot more than the 3,333 offered by Spotify.

Platforms - Google can be played from a browser on a PC or Mac, and on an Android based smartphone. If you have an iPhone you can access the service via the browser. Spotify has a browser service for PCs, an app for PCs as well as apps for both iOS and Android devices.

Music integration - Google has an edge on Spotify in that the new service integrates with its cloud based storage system. So you can upload all your music to the cloud and it will be accessible on any PC using Google Music. This is very useful for people who like music in genres which aren't well represented on either of the streaming services (obscure 60s stuff, jazz, easy listening, exotica etc). It also means that it is easy to create playlists that contain both yours and Google Music which are then available anywhere. For some users this is a serious advantage over Spotify.

Overall - Which one you choose I think depends on a number of factors. If you are a casual music streamer then Spotify's free service will probably suffice for you. If you are an Apple diehard too Spotify has the edge. Where Google Music scores is the integration of your own music with the streaming catalogue. that is a small, but significant niche. It will be interesting to see if and when Spotify addresses this.

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Will you be buying the Google Chromecast?

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It has been hailed as a smart move by Google, but will you be investing in one? The Google Chromecast, which debuted yesterday is a dongle that plugs into your TV's HDMI socket and enables you to stream video content from a number of devices to your screen.

It is apparently compatible with Android and iOS phones and tablets and Google showed it working with a Windows laptop yesterday too. And it is limited in the video it can stream focusing on staples like YouTube and Netflix. It pulls in the video from the web as opposed to your device and is also compatible with Google's in the cloud wireless streaming audio service Google Music.

It has already gone on sale in the US for the very competitive price of $35. There's no details of a UK launch, but if it is a hit in the US it shouldn't be too long before we see it over this side of the pond.

There are already a number of devices that perform a similar service from the excellent Roku through to Apple's TV offering. You can also watch services like Netflix and YouTube from a number of devices like games consoles.

So will you be buying a Chromecast?

googlenexuss4.jpgA few days ago during Google I/O the company took the wraps off a version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that also incorporated a Google Nexus experience. the key difference between it and the existing version of the S4 is that Google version would run stock Android Jelly Bean and that means it is much more customisable by the maker. So on the Google model, for example, you wouldn't have those Samsung apps and interface.

Well the bad news is that it doesn't appear to be heading to the UK, at least for now. Google has confirmed that the handset, which will be available in the U.S. on June 26, will only be US for the time being.

There is clearly a demand for Stock Android on both sides of the Atlantic, so it will be interesting to see if any other makers - coughs, HTC - offer it.

Earlier today Gerald at Tech Digest run a story about how a highly offensive 'Racist Jokes' app has landed on the Google Play store.

Quite rightly IMO he says that is shocking that Google could be making money from the app and that it might even fall foul of Racist and Religious crime laws in the UK.

And then I saw this

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What in any possible way is this funny? It is just utterly offensive.

Say what you like about Apple, but at least its app store is clean.

Google needs to take a very long hard look at its app policies and fast.

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