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Tag: Pixel

Here’s what the Pixel 4’s radar chip looks like

October 28, 2019 No Comments

I’ve been tearing my gadgets apart for as long as I can remember. Consoles, phones, printers, whatever — I’ve always needed to see what makes it all work. Sometimes they even work when I put them back together.

As soon as Google announced that the new Pixel 4 had friggin’ radar built-in for detecting hand gestures, I needed to see under the hood. While I haven’t picked up a Pixel 4 yet, our friends over at iFixit busted out the heat guns and did what they do best, tearing the Pixel 4 XL down to parts and uncovering the Project Soli radar chip along the way.

iFixit 2

Image Source: iFixit

That board you’re looking at contains a good amount of stuff beyond the Soli chip — it’s also where you’ll find the earpiece speaker and the ambient light sensor, for example. The Soli chip seems to be that little greenish box in the upper-right area.

Alas, there’s… not a ton to learn just from looking at it. Google has spent the last few years working on this, and they’ve ended up with something that’s honestly a bit wild. With no moving parts, and without line of sight, these chips are able to do things like detect when people are near the device (and how many), whether they’re standing or sitting, how they’re moving their hands and more. As iFixit so succinctly puts it, “TL;DR: magic rectangle knows your every move.”

For anyone looking to tear apart the Pixel 4 XL themselves, be it to make repairs or just out of curiosity, make sure you know what you’re getting into. iFixit gives the device a relatively paltry 4 out of 10 on its repairability score, citing easily breakable pull tabs and particularly strong adhesives as obstacles along the way. You can find their full teardown here.

iFixit

Image Source: iFixit

Mobile – TechCrunch


Hands-on with the new Pixel 4

October 16, 2019 No Comments

After the onstage presentation at Made by Google 2019, we got our hands on a Pixel 4. In this video, you can watch us do a quick run-through of the major new features — like Motion Sense, which provides gesture controls that don’t require you to touch your phone, and improved Night Sight, which allows you to take high-quality photos in dark environments.

 

The Pixel 4 will start shipping on October 24, with a starting price of $ 799.

 

Mobile – TechCrunch


Google’s new voice recognition system works instantly and offline (if you have a Pixel)

March 13, 2019 No Comments

Voice recognition is a standard part of the smartphone package these days, and a corresponding part is the delay while you wait for Siri, Alexa or Google to return your query, either correctly interpreted or horribly mangled. Google’s latest speech recognition works entirely offline, eliminating that delay altogether — though of course mangling is still an option.

The delay occurs because your voice, or some data derived from it anyway, has to travel from your phone to the servers of whoever operates the service, where it is analyzed and sent back a short time later. This can take anywhere from a handful of milliseconds to multiple entire seconds (what a nightmare!), or longer if your packets get lost in the ether.

Why not just do the voice recognition on the device? There’s nothing these companies would like more, but turning voice into text on the order of milliseconds takes quite a bit of computing power. It’s not just about hearing a sound and writing a word — understanding what someone is saying word by word involves a whole lot of context about language and intention.

Your phone could do it, for sure, but it wouldn’t be much faster than sending it off to the cloud, and it would eat up your battery. But steady advancements in the field have made it plausible to do so, and Google’s latest product makes it available to anyone with a Pixel.

Google’s work on the topic, documented in a paper here, built on previous advances to create a model small and efficient enough to fit on a phone (it’s 80 megabytes, if you’re curious), but capable of hearing and transcribing speech as you say it. No need to wait until you’ve finished a sentence to think whether you meant “their” or “there” — it figures it out on the fly.

So what’s the catch? Well, it only works in Gboard, Google’s keyboard app, and it only works on Pixels, and it only works in American English. So in a way this is just kind of a stress test for the real thing.

“Given the trends in the industry, with the convergence of specialized hardware and algorithmic improvements, we are hopeful that the techniques presented here can soon be adopted in more languages and across broader domains of application,” writes Google, as if it is the trends that need to do the hard work of localization.

Making speech recognition more responsive, and to have it work offline, is a nice development. But it’s sort of funny considering hardly any of Google’s other products work offline. Are you going to dictate into a shared document while you’re offline? Write an email? Ask for a conversion between liters and cups? You’re going to need a connection for that! Of course this will also be better on slow and spotty connections, but you have to admit it’s a little ironic.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Google Pixel 3 XL users are getting twice the notch, thanks to a bug

October 30, 2018 No Comments

Over the past two years, the notch moved from anomaly to fact of life, and no company has proven itself more pro-notch than Google. From its embrace of #notchlife in Android Pie to the downright gigantic one found up top on the Pixel 3 XL, Google’s really notchin’ it up.

In fact, as noted by Android Police, the Pixel 3 XL has a notch so nice, Google’s delivering it twice. A number of owners have reported an admittedly hilarious bug that’s causing the massive handset to double up on the notch, with a second cutout appearing on the side of the device.

Google has acknowledged (acknotchleged?) the issue and noted that it’s working on a fix, which should be coming soon. The company hasn’t offered a reason behind the issue, but it appears to stem from Pie’s built-in notch feature, and likely has something to do with how the background adjusts when the handset changes from portrait to landscape mode.

It seems even in 2018, that’s a notch too far.

Mobile – TechCrunch


This leaked look at the Google Pixel 2 XL’s front face is promising

October 2, 2017 No Comments

 Google’s Pixel 2 launch event is only a couple of days away, but the hype cycle is in high gear – and a new leak has me even more excited to see what Google officially unveils on Wednesday. Serial (and mostly accurate) leaker Evan Blass has posted images he says depict the Google Pixel 2 XL viewed from the front, including a display with minimal bezels that matches up with rumors… Read More

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Microsoft To Introduce Multi-Touch And Pen Devices Based On Perceptive Pixel Technology

December 29, 2012 No Comments

Microsoft plans to offer devices based on Perceptive Pixel technology that uses both pen and touch to create what is equivalent to the human as the user interface.

Microsoft General Manager Jeff Han, who sold Perceptive Pixel to Microsoft earlier this year, hinted at the news with a slide in a presentation at this week’s Build conference in Redmond. It said “Devices *are* coming” along with an email contact to get access to the hardware. He did not say when the devices would be available in the market.

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Microsoft To Introduce Multi-Touch And Pen Devices Based On Perceptive Pixel Technology

November 2, 2012 No Comments

steve ballmer perceptive

Microsoft plans to offer devices based on Perceptive Pixel technology that uses both pen and touch to create what is equivalent to the human as the user interface.

Microsoft General Manager Jeff Han, who sold Perceptive Pixel to Microsoft earlier this year, hinted at the news with a slide in a presentation at this week’s Build conference in Redmond. It said “Devices *are* coming” along with an email contact to get access to the hardware. He did not say when the devices would be available in the market.

While he did not say it outright in his presentation, Han clearly outlined the role multi-touch will have for almost any device Microsoft develops going forward. He said the enterprise and education markets have particular promise because they can be used in meeting roooms and classrooms. Multiple peole can touch the displays, which can be be networked so people may interact remotely. This will all mean a new generation of apps that require us to think of the human as the interface. Interactions will vary for different people.

 

Han said in his presentation that multi-touch is the standard across the market, because touch is dead due to a number of challenges it faces, including: the “fat finger” problem (not precise enough); the “Midas touch” problem (no hover/tracking state); and the inability to discern which touch is which, a problem that makes for difficult UI choices. Further, touch is great for content manipulation but not as much for content creation.

Han said the opportunity will come with devices that integrate both the hardware and the software that enables touch and the use of a stylus.

Windows 8 allows for both touch and stylus with a Slate-style experience.

Han’s influence is spreading at Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer, in his keynote Thursday at Build, showed off an 82-inch Slate PC display that featured the Perceptive Pixel multi-touch technology that he said is “shipping.”

Han has a vision that is as much about the technology as it is about the people who use it to interact. That creates a fascinating opportunity for developers who, over the next several years, will do more to create apps that integrate with the way we sit, stand and use our arms more so than how to use machines with keyboards to type commands.


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