Light Start – Android list of shame, Samsung’s Batphone, Brian May’s VR play and EasyJet’s smart footwear

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Google’s ranking Android device makers so they offer updates faster

Android 6.0 MarshmallowIf you’ve ever owned an Android handset or tablet (that isn’t a Nexus device) you’ll know the annoyance of having to wait for the manufacturer to get around to updating it with the latest version of the mobile operating system. See, even when Google puts out a new version of its OS end users are still beholden to device manufacturers, that have to make sure their hardware will work with the new software. The result? Lots of Android users end up a version (or even two) behind. For example, less than 8% of Android devices out there run the latest version, Marshmallow. Compare that to the more than 80% of Apple devices that run iOS 9. Google says it may make public a list it’s created that ranks manufacturers according to how quickly they offer updates. Let’s hope the threat of name-and-shame tactics makes the worst offenders up their game.

Source: Bloomberg

Quick Robin! To the Batphone!

Batman-Samsung-S7Samsung’s made a Batman branded version of its flagship Galaxy S7 Edge handset (called the “Injustice Edition”) that comes with a matching Gear VR headset, a rubber casing that looks like a bit of Batman’s crime-fighting outfit and even a golden Batarang. According to Samsung the whole kit will arrive next month in “select territories” like China, Singapore, Korea, and Russia. Sadly, we’re not expecting to see it here any time soon, but if you’ve got a family member in an applicable reason and a suitably convincing and gravelly voice you might be able to wrangle one. Of course, some of the more Batman obsessive among you might recall Nokia had it’s own Batman-inspired Lumia a few years/movies back. Seems the Dark Knight has a special appeal for mobile phone makers. We’d love to see other character editions, but suspect getting a Jokerphone past any marketing department is an unwinnable battle.

Source: The Verge

Brian May’s VR play (It will rock you)

Brian May OWL VR virtual realityIn addition to loving astrophysics, animals, rock music and poodle-lookalike competitions, Queen guitarist Brian May likes stereoscopic images, you know, the ones where you have the same image side by side and peering at them through a holder that presents one image to each eye creates the illusion of depth and 3Dness? Yeah, those things. Google Cardboard, Samsung’s Gear VR, the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive use the same principle, but add the virtual reality bits and bobs that let you move your head about. Enter the OWL Virtual Reality Kit from one of May’s pet projects, the London Stereoscopic Company. It looks like a cross between Google Cardboard and a Viewmaster. And we really want one.

Source: The Register

Follow your feet and see the world

EasyJet Smart Shoes Barcelona Street ProjectBudget airline EasyJet has made a vibrating, Arduino-based pair of devices that users can slip into a pair of takkies, connect to their mobile phone using low-energy Bluetooth and use to navigate a new city thanks to Google Maps and your handset’s GPS antenna. Need to turn left, you left shoe will vibrate to let you know. Turning right soon? Your right shoe will buzz. Both shoes vibrating mean you’ve gone off course while three buzzes mean you’ve arrived at your destination. Called The Barcelona Street Project, it’s just a concept for now, but with enough support EasyJet intends to bring it to life. The idea is for travellers to spend more time taking in their surroundings and less time annoying locals with requests for directions or pouring over maps while stood in a bicycle lane.

Source: Boing Boing

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