Tag Archives: Five

These are Google Android 8.1's five best features
December 29, 2017 6:00 am|Comments (0)

I’ve been using Android 8.1 for several weeks now on my Pixel 2 smartphone, and I’m impressed.

It’s not so much that Android 8.1 is a big jump forward for most end-users. It’s not. Google’s major 2017 Android improvements came with Android 8.0. With a smartphone containing a Pixel Visual Core chip, it’s a dramatically different story.

1) Visual Core

The Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed consumer processor. It’s a dedicated image processing chip. Today, it’s only in the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Tomorrow, it may be appearing in other smartphones.

CNET: Google Pixel 2 XL review: Promising phone with new caveats

With Android 8.1, the Visual Core chip has been activated and the results are dramatically better photos. First, it takes much faster High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos. By taking a series of photographs in micro-seconds, HDR-enhanced cameras do a much better job of capturing the full range of darkest blacks and lightest whites than older digital cameras.

With Google’s HDR+, your smartphone camera takes a rapid burst of pictures. The Visual Core chip then combines them five times faster than previous generation of processors into one superior picture. You may not notice the speed, but what you will notice is how much more detail you’ll get from low-light photographs.

You used to only be able to take HDR+ photos using the Google photo app. Now, third-party camera apps, which use the Android Camera application programming interface (API), such as Instagram and Snapchat, can also take advantage of HDR+’s superior processing for better photos.

2) Neural Network API

Any device which can upgrade to Android 8.1, which for now are the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, the Pixel 1 and 1 XL, the Pixel C tablet, and the Nexus 6P and 5X, can make use of Google’s Neural Networks API (NNAPI). While as a user you won’t notice anything immediately from this improvement, Android developers will. NNAPI is designed to make it possible to run machine-learning (ML) on mobile devices. This API provides a base layer, higher-level, ML framework. This, in turn, can be used by Google’s TensorFlow Lite.

What this means for you as a user is you can expect to see some very interesting smart applications coming your way soon. For example, by this time next year, you can expect speech recognition and language translation apps, which will approach Star Trek-levels of coolness.

3) Bluetooth battery levels measurements

Do you get sick and tired of not knowing if your Bluetooth earphones or headset are about to die on you? I know I do. With Android 8.1, you’ll find a Bluetooth battery display in the Bluetooth settings. I’d still rather have it on the top status bar, but this is a lot better than fumbling with my Bluetooth gadgets.

4) Better screen management

On some smartphones, notably the Pixel 2 XL, some people were seeing screen burn-in. If you don’t recall this ugly blast from old style CRT display’s past, screen burn happens when the same screen elements — such as the navigation icons or the clock — are always on. After time, these elements are “burned” into the display so their ghostly presence remains even when they should be gone.

With Android 8.1, smartphones now vary how these are displayed. The result? The end of screen burn.

5) New look

There aren’t any major changes to the interface, but there are some useful ones. These include the Pixel Launcher. This makes it easier than ever to access Google search functions and installed apps. Android’s quick settings are transparent now so you can still see a hint of the main screen beneath it. There are also new launcher themes.

All-in-all, Android 8.1 is a good step forward. What I’m really looking forward to though is seeing more smartphone vendors bringing it to their flagship phones. Thanks to Google’s Project Treble.

TechRepublic: Android Oreo rollback protection prevents hackers from exploiting past vulnerabilities

Before Treble, which first appears in Android 8.0, when Google launched a new Android version, the chip OEMs, such as Mediatek and Qualcomm, had to add drivers so their silicon could run it. Then the device vendors added their customizations. Finally, the carriers had to bless the update. Then, and only then, could you get a new version of Android on your old phone. What a mess!

Project Treble has redesigned Android to make it easier, faster, and cheaper for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android. It does this by separating the device-specific, lower-level software — written mostly by the silicon manufacturers — from the Android OS Framework.

By working with the chipset OEMs, the vendor interface is validated by a Vendor Test Suite (VTS). In short, Google is cutting out some of the fat, which makes Android updates so slow.

If the phone vendors cooperate by not adding too much of their own spice to the stew, many of you may finally see Android 8 and 8.1 on your phones before I’m writing about the release of Android 9.

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Kanye West Gives Kim Kardashian West Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Worth of Stock in Five Major Companies
December 27, 2017 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

Kim Kardashian West revealed what husband Kanye West gave her this Christmas: Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock in major companies including Disney, Apple, and Amazon. In an Instagram story—visible to her 105 million followers—shared on Tuesday, the reality TV star and entrepreneur shared how Kanye delivered the stock-ing stuffer.

“So for one of my Christmas presents from Kanye, he gives me this little box with a Disney Mickey toy, Apple headphones, Netflix [and] Amazon gift cards and Adidas socks,” Kardashian says, as her camera pans over the box of gifts. “And I’m like ‘that’s so sweet, thanks!’”

“But then, I open the next box and it is stock to Amazon, where he got the gift cards, stock to Netflix, stock to Apple—hence the little headphones—Adidas stock and Disney stock,” she says in the next installment, revealing stock certificates for the five companies. Kardashian wrote “best husband alert!” as the caption.

While most of the certificates are hidden from the camera, viewers of the Instagram story can see that Kim was gifted 920 Disney (dis) shares, which the certificate says are valued at around $ 100,000. The Instagram story also shows that she was given 995 Adidas (addyy) shares, which would also have a total value of around $ 100,000 at current prices.

Several of these companies saw their stocks soar and crush the broader stock market in 2017. Netflix (nflx) was up 51%, Apple (aapl) 47%, and Amazon (amzn) 57% year-to-date, according to CNBC.

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These Are Your Five Favorite Men’s Jeans
April 19, 2017 9:41 pm|Comments (0)

With four of the top five picks, Levi’s dominated our men’s jeans nominations, but it’s time to button up the single best pair. Check out the finalists below, and don’t forget to vote at the bottom of the post.

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Five Open Source Projects that MSPs Should Be Following
February 2, 2017 5:55 am|Comments (0)

The OpenStack cloud computing platform — some call it a cloud computing operating system — has been around for several years. Adoption has been …


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Five Important Lessons From A Trip To The Apple Store
July 3, 2016 6:25 am|Comments (0)

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Five Strategic Acquisitions That Reshaped VMware
December 15, 2015 12:35 pm|Comments (0)

Watching VMware grow from a being a young silicon valley startup to a formidable force in the enterprise market was interesting. It is one of the fastest growing entities in the history of computing. With a market cap of $ 36B and a revenue of $ 6B, it was positioned as the fifth largest software company by Forbes. Today, VMware is making great strides in data center transformation, hybrid cloud, and end-user computing.


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Five ‘Must-Do’s’ For Your Company’s Future Success From VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger
December 1, 2015 5:40 pm|Comments (0)

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger offers five imperatives for digital businesses competing in the mobile-cloud era.


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