Google Reveals New Android Wear Wrist Control Actions

In my recent #SGGQA Podcast I bemoaned the amount of gestures on Wear watches which required me to swipe the screen. There’s a near permanent cross of fingerprint grease in the middle of any Wear watch face.

Google must have been listening to my show, as they’ve sneakily revealed new gesture and wrist action controls for the next Android Wear update.

The last update introduced a twisting action to help you scan through cards and notifications. This now extends to dropping the quick settings located at the top of the watch. The App menu can be accessed by “dropping” your wrist quickly while holding your arm in front of you.

The arm drop can also be used to slide through notification cards. A pivot up action can slide yo back out of a card, and a quick wrist shake takes you back to your home watch face, kinda like clearing out an etch-a-sketch.

These might sound like small improvements, but anything which prevents me from having to use both hands to control a device designed to simplify my interaction with notifications will be a welcome change.

(via Android Wear support page)

#SGGQA Podcast Now on Player FM

My little show is growing up!

Each week I select some of my favorite comments and questions from social media (those little green squares on the left of this blog), and my Youtube channel, to produce a show. It’s a live stream every Friday, and you can watch via the Youtube Playlist, or subscribe to an audio version via RSS, iTunes, or listen to the most recent episode on SoundCloud.

I’m happy to announce that #SGGQA is now available via Player FM! It’s a terrific app for tracking your favorite shows, and now you can find mine on there too!

#SGGQA Podcast on Player FM!

Waze Delivers Arnold Schwarzenegger Celebrity Turn by Turn Voice

“Make a U-turn then GET TO ZE CHOPPA!!! Yeaaarrggghh!!!

Teasing their new celebrity voice, the Waze team tweeted this pic out today.

I honestly haven’t been this excited for a turn by turn voice since I first got the John Cleese upgrade for Tomtom back in the day.  We’re really curious to see how “funny” the directions might be, we’ll find out tomorrow, but until then, the jokes just write themselves…

“Who is your daddy, and what does he drive?”

Adobe Lightroom Mobile – RAW Photo Editing Comes to Android

adobe lightroom mobile android raw photo editingAdobe has released a killer update for their Lightroom Mobile app for Android.

Not only does the app bring compatibility for tablets and MicroSD card storage, for folks looking to produce the highest quality content possible while on the go, you can now edit RAW photos.

It’s like the difference between editing the raw audio off of a CD or working from a compressed MP3. Most people use JPG files, which are squished for easier sharing. RAW photos retain all of the detail and information from the camera sensor, before software turns them into the visual equivalent of MP3’s.

This update will require the new Google Camera API which allows for RAW capture. This API was released with Lollipop, but of course not all manufacturers are using it. You can test your phone with this Manual Camera Compatibility app to see if RAW capture will work. The Galaxy S6 for example supports manual photo features, but does not support saving RAW images.

This is an excellent step for mobile content creation on the Adobe platform. You can grab Lightroom Mobile on Google Play.

Kodak Updates Pixpro SP360 Software for Better Youtube 360 Degree Video Support

kodak pixpro beta software sp360 youtube 360 degree video support somegadgetguyKodak’s Pixpro SP360 is one of the first consumer accessible cameras to properly support Youtube’s new 360 video feature, but the way Kodak produced panoramic video didn’t work very well with how Youtube implemented the feature.

Over the weekend, the Pixpro team released BETA desktop software which provides a new Youtube Compatible format, and the results are night and day better.

Previously, you had to convert the video into a thin strip panorama for Youtube to recognize it, which would distort the vertical axis. Here’s our first 360 degree test with the SP360.

Now re-uploading the same video after rendering through the new Youtube mode!

It’s an exciting new feature, allowing people to shoot immersive and interactive content, and it’s always a good sign to see companies updating and improving their products to support new features!

Google Camera App available for all phones running KitKat – Full Review and Feature Walk through!

Another handy Google announcement. After updating Youtube, Google is also making their stock camera available on Google Play!

If you’re familiar with a recent Nexus or the Moto X camera, Google is now allowing ANY phone running Android 4.4 (KitKat) to download the app for free. It’s helpful consistency if you’re considering switching to a different manufacturer for your next phone or tablet, you wont have to re-learn the camera UI. It’s also nice knowing that your camera software can be updated like a regular app instead of waiting for a full OS or ROM update to get carrier approval.

Here’s our full hands on feature walk through and review!

Google Camera (Google Play) Continue reading “Google Camera App available for all phones running KitKat – Full Review and Feature Walk through!”

AT&T Bringing Android 4.4.2 KitKat to HTC One Mini

htc one mini kitkat update somegadgetguyThis update could be interesting. HTC delivered a nicely styled phone with the HTC One Mini, but in reviewing it I was concerned with some sluggish UI responses and sub-par camera performance.

Google focused KitKat on improving hardware optimization for lower powered handsets. Cheap Android phone manufacturers would often turn to Gingerbread (Android 2.3), so Google is making efforts to polish up the experience for entry level handsets. As the HTC One Mini was last years mid-range entry, it stands to reason that it too might get a nice little performance boost.

The One Mini wasn’t a terrifically popular phone, so it’s really nice to see HTC continuing to support customers here even if the update has been a bit delayed. I’m updating my One Mini now to take it for a second test drive!

Hit the jump for the full changelog of additional updates and improvements. Continue reading “AT&T Bringing Android 4.4.2 KitKat to HTC One Mini”

Google Play Music Now Allows Music Uploads Through Your Browser

google play music updateIt’s a simple update, but a helpful one.

If you manage your music collection online through Google Play Music, you now have a little more control over how you upload tracks to your cloud storage. You originally had to upload tracks through a program which lived on a desktop, but now Google has updated the service to allow for browser uploads.

It’s a handy little update for those moments you might want to manage your music collection while on the go. It’s also a great way to showcase Chrome apps, as the service ties into a new mini-player available through the Chrome browser.

Now I’m hoping they’ll build some of that functionality into the Play Music apps on phones and tablets.

More info on Google’s Play Music site.