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step-detector

Google brought pedometer functions to Android with the recent release of Android 4.4 (KitKat), but that’s not necessarily enough for smartphone owners who want to track their fitness routines. Google may be aware of the desire for more fitness information, though. Google Operating System has discovered leaked code (shown below) for a future “Fitness API” that would supply apps with activity data from an Android device’s sensors.

google-fitness-api-leak

Image Credit : Google Operating System

 

Android 4.4 supports new sensors for detecting and counting steps. These sensors are implemented in hardware and are only available on Nexus 5. This new Fitness API for Android will allow applications to view and edit fitness data. There aren’t any clues as to when the API would be ready, and it’s uncertain whether the software is tied to either a new OS revision or a Google Play Services update. However expect your favorite Android fitness app becomes much more sophisticated in the near future.

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google chrome

Google is coming up with an update to the mobile version of Chrome, which promises to decrease data usage while browsing by as much as 50%.

Google announced the upcoming changes to its browser Wednesday in a blog post, saying, “In the U.S. alone, more than a fifth of adult smartphone users now do most of their online browsing on their mobile device. Around the world, we’re seeing a similar trend towards more mobile browsing. That’s why we’ll be rolling out a new feature on Chrome for Mobile to help you reduce data usage and save money on your mobile plan. When enabled, Chrome’s data compression and bandwidth management can reduce data usage by up to 50% while browsing the web on Chrome for Android and iOS. This feature also enables Chrome’s Safe Browsing technology which helps protect you from malicious webpages.”

data savings chrome

Image Credit : Google

 

However to reduce data usage, users must enable the data-savings option in Chrome’s “settings” menu. With this setting, users will also be able to track the amount of data they’re saving each month.

This update will be available for both Android and iOS. The iOS update will also bring Google Translate to Apple devices, which translates webpages while browsing. This feature is already available on the desktop and Android versions of Chrome.

Lastly, this upcoming release of Chrome for Android will allow you to create shortcuts to your favorite websites right from your homescreen for faster and easier access to the web. When visiting a site you’d like to save, simply select “Add to homescreen” from the toolbar menu. For certain websites, the shortcut will open in a full-screen experience and appear as a separate app in the Android app switcher. This update is set to roll out over the next few days.

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Tegra K1

We all know NVIDIA is working hard to beat the competition. And the above graph suggests NVIDIA is onto a good thing. The graph above comes courtesy of Tom’s Hardware. The company’s recently announced Tegra K1 processor combines a handful of ARM Cortex-A15 CPUs with a GPU based on the successful Kepler graphics architecture found in desktops and laptops.

The result seems to be a minimum 25 percent lead over the current generation of flagship chips, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and Apple’s 64-bit A7 used in iPhone 5s, as measured with 3DMark. These scores are based on a Lenovo Thinkvision 28 Android all-in-one with a lovely 4K panel, which according to Tom’s Hardware contains a K1. And assuming this is a K1, it’s definitely not the 64-bit version; it’s not running at NVIDIA’s claimed max clock speed of 2.3GHz, and it’s almost certainly not using market-ready drivers — all of which suggests that 2014’s crop of Tegra K1-powered tablets could be even more powerful than what we’re seeing right now.

Potentially The Next Big Thing In SoCs.

tegra-china-benchmarks

Tegra K1 benchmarks from China

More benchmark scores are spilling out of China. If they’re accurate, a Tegra K1 reference tablet can beat the 3D performance of an Intel Haswell laptop with integrated graphics, despite the latter presumably burning three times the power used by K1 — a claim that is hard to believe. Its something only time will tell. But one thing we are sure about is that NVIDIA is on right track.

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NEST

Google has just acquired Nest Labs, the maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke detector, for $3.2 billion in cash. Nest reinvented unloved but important home products, like the thermostat and the smoke alarm focusing on simple, beautiful and thoughtful hardware and services. Google CEO Larry Page announced this on his Google+ stream:

https://plus.google.com/106189723444098348646/posts/3edWiAF2T8c

Google is being quick to assure users that Nest will continue to operate under its own brand. While the transaction is subject to the usual regulatory review, Google says it expects the sale to close within the next few months. Google Ventures had already invested millions of dollars in Nest, so the company has been on Mountain View’s radar for some time now.

How Google plans to use Nest is still a mystery, but the company obviously sees it as an important part of its future. A combination of Nest’s home solutions coupled with Google’s language recognition could give Google its strongest path yet into your home.

“Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone,” writes co-founder Tony Fadell on the Nest blog.“We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship.”

“We’re thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world.” Nest CEO Tony Fadell said in a statement.

Nest will continue to offer apps for both iOS and Android. That means Apple fans will not be left disappointed. There’s also a possibility that Google’s other products will eventually integrate more tightly with the Nest lineup, but so far, Google is staying mum. Until that day comes, we’ll leave you to speculate — feel free to leave your best guesses in the comments.

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lg earphones

LG yesterday announced a new set of fitness-oriented earphones named LG HRM EARPHONE (FR74), which are designed to offer real-time heart monitoring. With this announcement, LG Electronics is making its first move into the fitness tech market. These earphones comes with a small medallion that is strapped on an arm or waistband. It can track both metabolic rate and maximum oxygen consumption while allowing users to listen to music.

The LG Heart Rate Earphones use sensor technology to measure blood flow signals from the auricle of the ear. This captures biometric data such as heart rate and maximal oxygen consumption. The add-on medallion that connects to the earphones serves as a data processing hub that sends real-time biometric information to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Also compatible with third party fittness platforms.

In addition, the Heart Rate Monitor Earphones include an accelerometer that measures a wide range of data, including distance, calories burned, steps taken, and more that syncs to various apps, including the LG Fitness app and third-party platforms such as MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. The earphones also work alongside the recently announced Lifeband Touch activity tracker.

The earphones will ship in the first half of 2014, starting first in the U.S. market before rolling out to other countries and will retail for $179.99.

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samsung-galaxy-s5-tobias-hornof

The consumers were not pleased with the design Samsung brought with the launch of Galaxy S4. Most of the people were not able to easily differentiate between Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 because of the similar design profiles. Now Samsung has admitted that the S5 would likely pack a substantially different design.

 ‘A back to basics’ rethink for the Galaxy S5

Talking to Bloomberg, Exec Lee Young Hee told  that the new flagship will go “back to basics,” adding that “mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.” It’ll also accompanied with a brand new version of the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, which is promised to have “more advanced functions” and an improvement over bulky design. There is also a possibility of eye-scanner sensor in the handset for greater security, though that’s still being studied.

Farther down the road, Samsung said that it’s looking at significant changes for the Galaxy Note 3’s successor in order to target it at professionals who are “willing to pay more for handsets”, something they have started with the recently announced Pro series tablets. Finally, Lee revealed that the Galaxy S5 will arrive in March or April after Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. So what else you expect from Samsung in its upcoming flagship? Leave your opinion in comments.

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chromebook

A few years ago, Chromebooks were a bit of a laughing stock. They were under performing single-purpose laptops that weren’t even good at the only thing they could do (that is, surf the web). Nobody really warmed up to them, despite their low price. Early sales were more than disappointing, and even Google’s few hardware partners looked like they were only doing this as a way to court Google’s favor. The whole project seemed doomed from the start.

But somehow, over the last two years, Chromebooks went from being irrelevant to actually making a sizable dent in the laptop market. And not just in the business market. Amazon this week reported that two out of its three best-selling laptops during the holiday season were Chromebooks.

According to the latest numbers from NPD, Chromebooks accounted for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales to businesses in 2013. That’s up from virtually nothing in the year before.

 Chromebooks accounts for 21 percent of all laptop sales and almost 10 percent of all computer sales in 2013

Two years ago, as per numbers shared by Google, it seemed Chromebooks were only doing somewhat well in schools. But over the last year, Google created a more diverse ecosystem of hardware partners. Chromebooks ecosystem now includes virtually all major laptop manufacturers, including the likes of Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Acer and more to join soon.

With the $1,300 Chromebook Pixel, Google even designed its own high-end Chromebook. It was not very popular primarily because of its high price but it surely helped the ecosystem and potential business customers to warm up the idea, too. Over the last year, ChromeOS feels more like a regular PC and less than a laptop that can only run a browser. Chromebooks are usually criticized because of their limited offline capabilities and this is the one area Google’s engineers worked hard by adding more offline capabilities.

Today’s Chromebooks are nothing like the old Cr-48 prototype Google once sent out to bloggers in late 2010. And due to growing popularity of Chromebooks, Microsoft is concerned about losing market share in the business world.

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samsung-galaxy-s5-tobias-hornof

The speculations about upcoming Samsung flagship Galaxy S5 has been started, and the first rumors to come are pretty damn crazy. According to ZDNet Korea, which has reported accurate details surrounding unannounced Samsung devices in the past, Samsung is preparing to launch a killer smartphone this coming February. The Galaxy S5 is rumored to feature an eye scanning sensor for security taking facial recognition and fingerprint scanning just another step further.

The eye-scanning/iris-recognition feature has never been used as an unlocking method on any smartphone, and if the rumour is true, Samsung would become the first handset maker to debut the feature on a smartphone. However, there is no official word from Samsung on the alleged eye-scanning feature. Another rumors include a QHD+ display at a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, a 16MP camera and a metal construction. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is expected to come with a 5.0- or 5.2-inch display, making the pixel density an incredible 560ppi at the said resolution.

Beyond the stunning new display and a possible integrated eye scanner, Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S5 is expected to feature a new 64-bit eight-core Exynos processor or a quad-core Snapdragon processor.

These rumors are somewhat unbelievable but who knows, Samsung may surprise us all. What are your thoughts on these rumors?

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As a part of the crowd funded Super Awesome Micro Project, two talented guys from Australia, Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida built a functional car out of Lego bricks that runs on air. They used around 500,000 Lego bricks and 256 pistons to design this masterpiece. The car, from engine to seats, is made completely from the tiny bricks, with the exception of a few structural parts including wheels, tires, and gauges. According to an estimate they’ve dropped $60,000 on Lego bricks alone.

Forty Australian patrons funded the project after seeing a single tweet that Sammartino sent.

“We are building something that has not been built before. It is high tech, eco friendly, quirky, strange and very, very cool. Those involved can come to the launch party. An official page of ‘patrons’ will be developed on a .com address so the world will know those who made it a reality. We will launch it to the world via a video – a mini doco. But it will be real. People can come, see and touch it.” said Steve Sammartino in the Super Awesome Micro Project Prospectus.

The car was built in Romania and then shipped to an undisclosed location in Melbourne, which was not an easy task.

The car was significantly damaged during shipping,” Sammartino told an Australian podcast. “We were like, ‘Well it’s just Lego, we’ll snap the pieces back together,’ But it wasn’t that easy. The pieces were warped because it had gone across the Equator, pieces were freezing and heating up — it was worse than you’d think.

But they were able to patch those damages up, and now they’re taking the car to the streets but admit that they currently “drive it slow as are scared of giant lego explosion.” It uses four radial engines for power and can currently reach speeds up to 20mph.

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multivitamin

More than half of all adults in the United States take some sort of multivitamin or supplement; many do so in hopes of better health, preventing heart disease and cancer. But according to an editorial published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that using supplements and multivitamins is a waste of money.

The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better,‘ said Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“It’s perpetuated. But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can’t prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack.”

The article is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving cognitive function in men older than 65.

Smokers who took only beta carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer.

The first study covered more than 450,000 participants and found that multivitamins had no beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. In addition, taking vitamins or Supplements didn’t prevent mortality in any way. However, the analysis did confirm that beta carotene and Vitamin E have adverse effect in lung cancer.

Evidence involving thousands of people shows that beta carotene, Vitamin E and high doses of Vitamin A increase mortality and other anti-oxidants, Folic acid and Vitamin B have no clear benefit.

The second study looked at 1,700 patients who previously had heart attacks. They were assigned to take three multivitamins twice a day for five years. However, with more than 50% of patients stopping their medications, it was difficult for authors to come to any real conclusions about the vitamins’ effectiveness.

The third and  final study followed nearly 6,000 men older than 65, who took either a multivitamin or a placebo for 12 years. But the test results found no differences between the two groups. However the group of men followed in the cognitive study were all physicians with no health problems.

“These are very well-nourished, very health-conscious people,” said Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at University of California Berkeley. In fact, she says none of the studies accurately represents the American population.

According to Cara Welch, senior vice president of the Natural Products Association “It is pretty common that in this day and age with the lifestyle many of us lead that we don’t always take the time to have a balanced diet, and even if you do have a balanced diet, you can still have nutritional deficiencies.”

The vitamin and supplement industry rakes in nearly $12 billion annually, according to the researchers, with multivitamins its most popular product.

“Multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people,” Welch said. “We don’t believe they are the answer to all life’s ailments, as the editorial suggests.”

Multivitamins have no clear benefit on healthy people who are well nutritioned. To some people, affected with health problem, they may be beneficial. So eat fruits and vegetables. Multivitamins are prescribed only in some conditions and don’t forget excess of everything is bad and may have adverse effect on your health.

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