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Hands-On With The Nexus 6 And Android Lollipop

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

[tc_5min code="518474971"]

Smack dab in the middle of last week, Google announced two new pieces of shiny: the Nexus 6 phone, and the Nexus 9 tablet.

Alas, both announcements came by way of blog post, rather than the standard fanfare-filled physical event — meaning no one actually got to touch the devices.

Until now!

While the amount of time I got to spend with each device is by no means enough for a full review, it was enough for those oh-so-important first impressions.

The short of it? These things are gorgeous.


The Nexus 6

The Nexus 6 is about twice the price of its Nexus 5 predecessor ($650 vs $350) – a difference that Google makes up, at least in part, in the device’s aesthetics. The Nexus 5 never felt cheap by any means; it was, at worst, generic. The Nexus 6 meanwhile is undeniably more polished, and looks…

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The future of content consumption, through the eyes of Yahoo Labs

Originally posted on Gigaom:

After years struggling through a public identity crisis it appears [company]Yahoo[/company] has decided, for better or worse, that it’s a content company. There will be no Yahoo smartphones or operating systems, no Yahoo Fiber, and no Yahoo drones, robots or satellites. But that doesn’t mean the company can’t innovate.

When it comes to the future of web content, in fact — how we’ll find it, consume it and monetize it — Yahoo might just have the inside track on innovation. I spoke recently with Ron Brachman, the head of Yahoo Labs, who’s now managing a team of 250 (and growing) researchers around the world. They’re experts in fields such as computational advertising, personalization and human-computer interaction, and they’re all focused on the company’s driving mission of putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.

Really, it’s all about machine learning

However, Yahoo Labs’ biggest focus appears to…

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MicroBlink Launches PhotoMath To Solve Math Equations With A Phone

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Imagine you are a 14-year-old kid again. You need to do this really difficult math exercise for tomorrow, but have no idea how to do it. What if you could just open an app on your phone, point your camera at your textbook, snap a picture and get the detailed instructions to solve your equation. This is exactly what PhotoMath does. The team is launching this app today at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in London.

MicroBlink is a text recognition technology company that has been developing a powerful engine for mobile phone cameras for the past two years. The startup is in the business of selling its core technology to companies who might find it useful.

“We are not an educational company, we are promoting our machine vision technology with PhotoMath,” co-founder and CEO Damir Sabol told me in a phone interview before Disrupt.

PhotoMath

And this is key to understanding what…

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TellSpec’s recent PR offensive only highlights just how great a scam it really was

Originally posted on PandoDaily:

TellSpec1As Pando has coveredToronto-based TellSpec panhandled on Indiegogo to the tune of almost $400,000 last October, pretending that its small handheld food scanner, that could tell you the nutritional values of your food, was production-ready.

The ‘real demonstration’ in the video turned out to be for show. And TellSpec has since admitted that it actually couldn’t make the device.

But now, a year later and already two months late in delivering promised Indiegogo rewards to its 1,765 backers, TellSpec finally has a beta device to show off.

Moreover, the company is really desperate to try and wash the stench of scam of its breath.

It started with a 90-minute TED Global talk earlier in October by CEO Isabel Hoffman, but continued last week with a remarkable 3,800 word feature in Fast Company.

Hoffman, Tellspec’s CEO, has a knack for storytelling, leaning heavily on big rhetoric about the transformative potential of food scanning…

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Researchers are using deep learning to predict how we pose. It’s more important than it sounds

Originally posted on Gigaom:

A team of New York University researchers that includes Facebook AI Lab Director Yann LeCun recently published a paper explaining how they built a deep learning model capable of predicting the position of human limbs in images. That field of computer vision, called human pose estimation, doesn’t get as much attention as things like facial recognition or object recognition, but it’s actually quite difficult and potentially very important in fields such as human-computer interaction and computer animation.

Computers that can accurately identify the positions of people’s arms, legs, joints and general body alignment could lead to better gesture-based controls for interactive displays, more-accurate markerless (i.e., no sensors stuck to people’s bodies) motion-capture systems, and robots (or other computers) that can infer actions as well as identify objects. Even in situations where it’s difficult or impossible to see or distinguish a part of somebody’s body, or even an entire side, pose-estimation systems should be smart…

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OnePlus’ Impressive $299 Smartphone Will Finally Go On Sale To All — But Only For An Hour

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

If you’ve been in the market for OnePlus One, the hugely impressive $299 Android smartphone that is available by invite only — thus far — then your luck is in. The startup has announced that it will make its first smartphone available to all members of the public, but for a one hour window only.

The impressive device will be available to buy for an hour on October 27, starting from 15:00 GMT — that’s 08:00 PST, or 11:00 EST. The company is allowing would-be customers to pre-order their phone from today, so there’s no need to stand still until then. Those who pre-order now but manage to grab an invite before October 27 can skip the queue and order their device right away, so there’s no danger of being stuck waiting.

OnePlus says the new public sale window will not replace its invitation system altogether, but — having suffered delays in the…

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Branch Metrics Raises $3 Million From NEA For More Intelligent Deep Links That Make Apps Work Like The Web

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Palo Alto-based Branch Metrics has just raised $3 million from NEA and others to address a series of challenges affecting the mobile app ecosystem today. The company has come up with an advanced “deep linking” technology for app developers, which allows for a more powerful means of sharing content from within apps, referring or inviting others to install apps, and more.

The solution goes beyond the current set of deep linking technologies, which only work successfully when users have the app already installed; with Branch Metrics’ solution, it’s able to direct users to the right place within an app even if the app was not installed when the link was first clicked.

App developers and marketers will quickly understand the benefit to the technology Branch Metrics has developed – and so did investors, it seems – the company ended up having their pick of VCs to work with, and chose NEA after getting a term sheet…

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