Device Orientation Based Context Detection On Smartphones

In order to make applications easy to use, smartphone manufacturers offer a variety of shortcuts. Additionally, these devices also come with reconfigurable buttons so that the same button may be used for different purposes depending on the application that is open and context.

Palm Inc. wants to take it a step further by including the device orientation and GPS functionalities to determine the context. For instance, while on a camera app, pointing the device vertically (perpendicular to the earth surface) in portrait or landscape mode may let you capture a photo. However, taking the device’s orientation parallel to the earth surface may open the album.

This is among the several embodiments that Palm wants to incorporate with its new patent impending technology. Here are some examples quoted from the patent application

In an Amusement Park

“when a user enters a park (e.g. an amusement park), a server automatically downloads a file to the smartphone. When the smartphone is laid flat and a dedicated button is pressed, a map of the park is displayed. When the smartphone is pointed at an attraction (e.g. a ride, a trail, etc.) and a user input is received, information relating to that attraction (age and height restrictions, wait time, trail length and conditions, etc.) and/or other media relating to that attraction (music, an instructional video, etc.) are provided.”

Pointing at Building For Information (Uses GPS and Orientation)

“A user may point the smartphone at a restaurant to obtain information relating to the restaurant and/or other restaurants in the area. The information may include menu selections, nutritional information, hours of operation, links for making reservations, and/or other information related to the restaurant. This same example may be applied to other types of businesses and/or other buildings as well (e.g. to identify the businesses and their location in a particular building).”

Remote Control for TV

“A user first programs the smartphone to control the TV (e.g. may be a series of on-screen prompts, may be through selection of codes associated with the TV that are tested until a change is detected, may be by pairing the phone with the TV–e.g. through a Bluetooth connection, and/or may be through some other method). The user also programs the smartphone to provide quick access to the remote control functions of the smartphone when the smartphone is pointed at the TV while the smartphone is in the same room as the TV. In operation, when the smartphone is pointed at the TV, the smartphone is configured to send a signal to the TV to control the TV (e.g. using IR commands for TVs with IR receivers and using RF commands for TVs with RF receivers).”

Orientation Based context input

Wireless Media Player To Stream Media

The number of media files accessed and the method of access is aplenty. Users consume content from radio, play audio tracks, video tracks, stream audio and video tracks from third party source. As a result, the method to play these different formats and organizing these as playlists is getting increasingly complicated.

Sony Ericsson has applied for a patent on a technology that can make this organization of media easy. In its recent filing, the inventors  write,

“According to a first aspect, this object is fulfilled by a wireless device, comprising a media player; a radio signal receiver system configured to receive media signals; a controller comprising a memory comprising a list of different media options, and a media scanner configured to scan the radio signal receiver system to detect media content associated with the media options.

In one embodiment the wireless device comprises a user interface, wherein the controller is configured to output an alert signal through the user interface to indicate that media content associated with the media options list has been detected by the media scanner.

In one embodiment the media options includes a plurality of different media channels, the device comprising a user interface including a display operable to present a list of media channels, wherein the controller is configured to highlight a media channel on the display responsive to the media scanner detecting reception of that media channel.”

Sony Ericsson wireless media player

Xbox 360 Console Redesign In The Works

Microsoft may be working to redesign the hardware of its popular gaming console, Xbox 360. Images that have been doing the rounds lately on the Chinese web show the motherboard of the upcoming Xbox 360 that has a relatively smaller motherboard and one which combines computer and graphics processors on a single chip. Also, the chip replaces Microsoft’s proprietary hard drive port with a SATA interface port.

Wait, there is every reason to be sceptical about this whole thing. However, as Kotaku notes,

“Now, considering the source, there’s every reason to be sceptical of the images, and the info. Then again, with Natal due later this year, rebooting the 360 itself to go along with it would make a lot of sense, especially if a reduction in size could come with a reduction incost.”

What do you think? True or False?

[via Kotaku]

Updated MacBook Pricing Leaked

Folks at CrunchGear are reporting possible leak of prices of Macs in the future. The prices that CrunchGear reports from an Australian website : A$2,399 for a MacBook Air, A$4,499 for Mac Pro and A$1,899 for MacBook Pro Family are on the higher side indicating possible upgrades to these products in the near future.

That being said, we are not able to verify the veracity of these reports and hence would suggest to take these rumors with a grain of salt. CrunchGear writes

“But as far as this pricing rumor goes, apparently it lists prices above the current ones. It comes from an Australian source, which apparently inflates the pricing over the US-set MSRP, though. But maybe it’s just because instead of being competitive with PCs for once, Apple tacked on the customary tax on new hardware.”

[via CrunchGear]

Google TV : Google, Sony, Intel And Logitech Partnership

Earlier this month, we had reported that Google is working with Dish TV to bring a TV Listing search service that could be based on the Android operating system. Now, it appears that there is more to the story.

Acording to a story published on the New York Times, Google is working on developing an Atom powered set-top box that will could introduce us to a “Google TV” platform. According to the sources, Google may be opening the platform for third party developers to bring add-on plugins, much in the same way as third party apps are available on the Android marketplace.

Intel is assumed to be powering the devices while Sony is set to be developing the set top boxes. The report claims Logitech to be working on a compatible remote control for the platform.

None of the companies confirmed the report.

[via The NY Times]

Samsung Tablet Launching Later This Year

Manufacturers jumping in on the tablet bandwagon is no longer news and it is a surprise that a popular manufacturer like Samsung didn’t have plans already. Anyway, we have now heard that the company is working on a tablet PC that will launch in the second half of this year.

This revelation was made by Philip Newton, the director of Samsung Australia’s IT division in a recent interview where he claimed that the tablet device will have “PC-grade processing power and connectivity” that will make up for the iPad’s shortcomings.

No information on the specs was given though.

[via Engadget]

Apple Suppliers Hit By Component Shortage? Once Again?

There were a lot of speculations prior to the announcement of iPad’s launch date that the device could see some delay owing to shortage of component supplies for OEMs. While that rumor was soon scoffed at thanks to Apple’s announcement of an April 3 launch date, it now appears that the rumors were not totally unfounded.

Folks at 9to5Mac note that the launch date of several iPad accessories have been silently deferred possibly due to the reported shortage in component among the OEMs. 9to5Mac writes,

“Over the past few days, Apple has altered some of the shipping times on their branded iPad accessories. First we noticed the iPad case making a slight shift from April 3rd to Mid-April. Today we notice Apple has delayed the iPad Keyboard Dock. The product was originally set to ship to customers in late-April but now the Apple store has placed the shipping time for sometime in May.”

So if you were eagerly looking to replace your desktop with an iPad, well you have to wait longer than you could have anticipated.

[via 9to5Mac]

Dell Partnering With Amazon To Take On iPad?

Is Dell partnering with Amazon to bring Kindle to its slate users? Folks at Android Community speculate if the upcoming Dell Mini 5, also known as Dell Streak could come pre-installed with Amazon Kindle. This comes after promo pictures of Dell Streak had “Kindle Book Reader Applications” listed among the apps supported.

Apart from the Kindle app, Dell Streak also inherently supports Amazon MP3, Amazon video streams and Amazon store. My view point is that while this can definitely help Amazon reach out to an extended user base, the mere presence of a Kindle Store on Dell Streak is alone not sufficient for the company to grab a higher market share. A Kindle application is not a unique offering as iPad’s iBookstore.

What do you think?

[Android Community via UberGizmo]

Xbox 360 Games On iPhone Coming Soon?

Will we get to see Microsoft Xbox 360 games coming to the iPhone? Rumors are that we might actually get to see it happening soon; though Microsoft shall not be the protagonist in this story.

Novell, the Massachusetts based software services corporation is expected to unveil its technology that will make it possible for developers to port their Xbox 360 games to the iPhone and possibly, also the Android handsets.

If this happens, then it could be a major setback to Microsoft that has been known to be banking on portablity of  Xbox 360 to its upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform as a viable selling proposition for this mobile OS that is expected to launch in smartphones later this year.

[via PC World]

Google Chrome OS Netbooks May Not Come Cheap

Looks like an open sourced OS alone may not make Google Chrome OS based netbooks cheap and affordable like the MS Windows counterparts. Folks at Netbook Choice write that the netbook being envisioned by the Big G is expected to come with a lot of high end features including high resolution displays, 64GB SSD, integrated 3G modem etc. that purchasing a Windows netbook may work out to be cheaper.

While paying for a higher end device is a no-brainer, it needs to be noted that the platform does not support many ubiquitous software including Microsoft Office which means that you may be buying a higher end device that can actually do lesser.

However, support for software as this is expected to roll out as Chrome OS proliferates which will nevertheless take some time.

[Netbook Choice via Lilitputing]