Google strengthens Android relationship with Intel in IoT

Intel may have cut ties with Android on smartphones and tablets, but the company’s partnership with Google on Android for the internet of things is growing stronger.Raspberry Pi 3 and Android Things

Google’s Android Things, a slimmed down version of Android for smart devices, will be coming to Intel’s Joule 570x computer board.

The combination will allow makers to cook up Android-based gadgets or smart devices for use in home, retail, or industrial settings.

The Intel board adds a lot of processing and graphics muscle to projects. With 4K graphics capabilities, the 570x is good for devices with screens or computer vision, like robots and drones. Intel demonstrated a bartending robot that used the board at its annual trade show last year.

A standout feature in Joule 570x is a RealSense 3D depth camera, which can recognize objects and measure distances. The board has an Atom T5700 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB of storage, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Right now, only three boards — Raspberry Pi, Intel’s Edison, and NXP’s Pico i.MX6UL — support Android Things.

On paper, the Joule 570x has better specifications than the Raspberry Pi 3. But it could also be overkill for Android Things, which can also work on work on sensor devices that require only basic processors like Quark on Intel’s Edison.

Putting Android Things in more devices will help Google effectively compete with Amazon’s Alexa, the voice-assistant technology that is being used in more gadgets and home appliances.

Last week, Google hinted that makers will be able to build devices with the company’s machine-learning technologies like voice and speech recognition, which are mainly based in the cloud. Google’s will bring its TensorFlow APIs (application programming interfaces) to makers later this year.

Android Things is still in preview, and a final version of the OS hasn’t been released. The OS previously went by the name Project Brillo, and a release date for a final version of the OS isn’t available.

Android Things is also one way for Google battle Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core, Ubuntu’s Snappy Core, and other Linux-based embedded OSes. Billions of IoT devices will ship in the coming years, and there’s an OS battle raging in the area, much like the OS competition in the PC and server markets.

Google smooths Pixel audio issues with latest security patch, but it may limit the volume

If you’re one of the unlucky Pixel owners with audio distortion problems, relief may be on the way. Along with the usual vulnerability plugs, this month’s security patch includes a fix for the widespread issue, and many users have reported that the issue has indeed been cleared uppixel xl back.

First brought to light on Reddit and the Google+ Pixel User Community, the problem affected both models of the Pixel and mostly manifested at high volumes. Users complained of cracking and popping sounds when listening via any audio source  and the distortion was evident when using Google’s apps or third-party ones. Several users who received replacement Pixels encountered similar issues with their new phones, and on Jan. 17, Pixel community manager Orrin informed users that “this is a software issue that we are working to resolve in an upcoming update,” and suggested “to not play your device at max volume.”

According to several reports, it appears that Google has made good on its promise, but your phone might not play as loudly as it did before. Many affected Pixel users are now reporting that after installing the February OTA security patch, audio plays clearly, though maximum volume has been diminished somewhat. As Google+ user Francesco Chirico reported, “The issue is solved in my case with February security patch. I’m not sure that volume level is as high as before but in any case it seems a good volume level.”

However, other users say the hissing and popping persists even after the update. Additionally, the issue has not been cleared up for people running the 7.1.2 beta, though the next update will presumably include the same fix. To check to see if the patch has been installed, go to Settings, scroll down to About phone, and tap System updates.

 I haven’t experienced this issue with my Pixel phone, but it’s good to see Google giving it some attention. It’s taken a bit longer than some users would have liked , but it appears as though Google has isolated the issue and fixed it for the vast majority of users. It would be nice if the volume level could return at some point, but most users seem content with the tradeoff.

This story, “Google smooths Pixel audio issues with latest security patch, but it may limit the volume” was originally published by Greenbot.

Project Ara denies everyone the modules they want

google project ara 49

Google’s Project Ara, to many, represented a way to defy in-built obsolescence. Instead of having a battery die after a couple of years and take the whole device down with it, or your CPU eventually becoming too old to run the most demanding apps and games, Project Ara promised a modular device that would allow you to easily swap key parts of the phone in and out, essentially providing a skeletal smartphone which enabled easy upgrades and replaceable parts.

Project Ara debuted at Google I/O 2014. Since then, there have been periods of eerie silence following failed tests, leading many to harbor significant doubts about the project.

Now, though, Google has dropped the A-Bomb and Project Ara will see a Developer Edition arrive in the fall. Great news, right? Google pulls it out of the bag.

Well, not quite.

google project ara 51

The modular device that Google has now presented is a normal smartphone – that is a device with a processor, GPU, battery and screen – with the addition of six slots for interchangeable modules. In Google’s words, this decision to house the essential components of the device permanently within the Ara frame frees “up more room for hardware in each module.” Sure. But it also denies people the modules for which they would actually want a Project Ara smartphone, the same modules Google was gunning for not so long ago.

Instead of being a device that you can upgrade the battery on, or slip a better processor into, or easily replace a broken screen on, it’s a glorified way to accessorize a slowly dying phone with flashy components.

Where Google had shown ambition, perhaps beyond reach, with the prototyping for Project Ara, what we’re now left with is a glorified LG G5, whose modular Magic Slot allows for the attachment of peripheral devices.

Project Ara has become a normal smartphone with a range of colorful (and as-yet-theoretical) accessories. It’s no longer the geek’s dream smartphone with core hardware you can upgrade and customize. It has sacrificed a key component of the project’s original vision, and you can count me out.

AndroidPIT lg g5 friends 0428