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Smartphone manufacturers are steering the industry into an era of the folding phone. Sure, the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X are not available until later in the year, but they show a new direction for mobile technology. Not wanting to be left behind, Google seems to be developing its own Pixel smartphone with folding screen tech.


A WIPO Patent filed by Google and discovered by Patently Mobile shows the company is exploring bendy screens. Titled "Foldable display neutral axis management with thin, high modulus layers", the patent describes on device components that would allow a smartphone to bend.


Google's apparent entry into the foldable phone market is significant as it suggests bendy screens are here to stay. Samsung and Huawei are already on board, the two largest smartphones manufacturers on the planet. Now Google seems to also be on board, the owner of the Android ecosystem.


In fact, it really isn't any surprise to see Google move into the foldable phone market. After-all, the company has tweaked Android to provide the software underpinning for devices with bending screens.


Stopping to think about the potential, it is easy to see how folding smartphones will be revolutionary. Users can have a video chat in WhatsApp going on one side of the screen, while posting on Facebook on the other side. Or what about consuming media while also using an online service. For example, a user could be watching a ball game live on one side of the screen while making in-game bets with a New York sports betting website.


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Patent Details

 

Google's plan for folding technology centers on Young's modulus to create layers that move independently of the neutral plane. If you are unfamiliar with Young's modulus, it is a number that measures the elastic abilities of a given material. Foldable displays are easier said than done because separate layers of the screen bend at different angles, creating a bump at the fold.


In its patent, Google has its own way of overcoming this issue. By using materials to make elasticity adjustments, the company's tech would theoretically remove the bump that is currently visible on folded smartphone screens.


The obvious question is what material will Google use? Well, the company is working with a material comprised of glass fibers and polymers for the transparent layer.


Another notable piece of information from Google's patent is that the company seems to be pursuing a clamshell design for its foldable phone. Samsung and Huawei have opted for a book style device, which would allow the handsets to be tablet sized when unfolded. Google's approach could mean a smaller device in the pocket, which unfolds to be the size of a modern smartphones.


As is always the case with patents, it is worth remembering that there are no guarantees the technology will ever be developed. Still, it does show that Google is working on folding screens and that could one day mean a folding Pixel smartphone. 


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Google's flagship Pixel 3 XL smartphone is less than six months old, but the company is already deep into development on its successor. While the Pixel 4 XL will not launch until nearer the end of the year, Google is working on the handset now. In fact, this week we learned more about the camera technology on the Pixel 4 XL thanks to some new renders of the upcoming device.


Two important changes will be made to the design of the Pixel XL. Specifically, Google will follow the recent high-end Android trend of a hole-punch screen and will also embrace a new camera configuration on the back of the handset.


New Camera Module

 

According to a leaked image discovered by SlashLeaks, the Pixel 4 XL will have two cameras on its rear. Ok, you are probably thinking most flagship devices have three or more camera lenses, and you'd be right. Google has always approached smartphone imagery differently to other OEMs and the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3 XL only have one rear camera.


Instead of using multiple lenses to create different imaging capabilities, Google leveraged its market-leading AI and machine learning technology. The result has seen the single lens of the Pixel smartphones achieve image quality other smartphones need multiple lenses to match. It is a strategy that has worked as Pixel cameras are considered amongst the best in the industry.


However, for the Pixel 4 XL, Google seems to be embracing a multiple camera setup. The linked device drawing you see below shows the smartphone with two lenses. Considering Google has managed to use a single lens to create a stunning smartphone camera, we are really excited to see what the company will do with two.


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Hole-Punch Display

 

The drawing also shows Google will use a hole-punch screen for the Pixel 4 XL, a design element that was backed up by renders that leaked this week by iDroidbg. Google has previously followed Apple's path of using a notch to house the front-facing selfie camera module.


While a notch is not a deal breaker, I have often found it slightly obtrusive. My smartphone activity revolves around sending messages on WhatsApp, playing games, or browsing when looking for a pa iLotterybonus code. In all cases it is hard to ignore the notch jutting out from the top of the screen.


The answer to that problem is the hold-punch display, which is becoming a smartphone trend in 2019 thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Google has noticed this trend and it seems the Pixel 4 XL will now have its selfie camera embedded into the screen.


Interestingly, both the render and the drawing show that the Pixel 4 XL will come without a fingerprint sensor on the rear. All previous Pixel smartphones have housed the fingerprint scanner on the back panel below the camera. On the upcoming 2019 model it seems Google has followed OEMs like OnePlus and Samsung by embedding the sensor within the screen. 


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There is about half a year still left in between now and the release date of the next Pixel flagship smartphones, but that has not managed to put a lid on the rumor jar though! Even before we actually get to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, let us inform you that Google may likely release cheaper versions of the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL much sooner. They will both be the "Lite" versions of their costlier siblings, but we are not sure about what Google will sacrifice on those two comparatively budget smartphones, if and when they come out.


As far as the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are concerned though, a few things are almost for certain and one of them is the fact that both the new phones might be launched in October, 2019. If there is another piece of reliable info that can be depended on, then it would be that both the flagship handsets will be sporting Android Q, aka Android OS 10. Not much is known about the Android Q OS yet though, except vague information regarding a comprehensive dark mode, better security and reliable facial recognition support.


Saikat Kar



Android P aka Android OS v9.0 is the next version of Android that is being beta tested by Google and a few other OEMs at the moment, prior to its full commercial release. In case you are wondering about the OS, know that there will be a number of big changes this year and they can be summarized as follows.


Overhauled Navigation System


Android P is taking a gesture-based route to navigation, so check out the following gesture commands to get an idea of what to expect.

·         Access to the recent apps tab will be granted by a swipe up

·         Long swipe/double quick swipe to access the app drawer

Also, the back button will only appear where applicable.


A More Colorful and Faster UI


Circular and colorful icons are immediately visible on the Developer Previews and the improved animation system makes it feel superfast.


Better Battery Life


Every version of the new Android OS promises this and while it might be true, we are not sure if the new OS versions really do make too much of a difference though. Nevertheless, Android P promises to maximize your battery life through machine learning. Adaptive brightness, adaptive battery use  and limited CPU usage are all things that Google is aiming for with this version of the OS.


App Actions and Slices


If you use an app for a certain purpose often on your phone, App Actions will recommend and create shortcuts that will help you do it faster the next time around. Slices on the other hand is an even more advanced functionality of the Google Assistant that will make more intelligent decisions, based on your voice commands.


Other Improvements


There are also multiple other minor but helpful improvements to the OS as well, like an instant screenshot editor and pop-up zoom while highlighting text. The fact that volume changes made via hardware button is now always mapped to media by default is a very welcome change.


Third Party Smartphones are Also getting Beta This Time


Unlike every other year, Google has surprisingly opened up the early access Beta doors to Sony, Nokia, Xiaomi, Vivo, OnePlus and Oppo via Project Treble. Just in case you are wondering, yes, it's definitely available on all the Pixels as well!


That about wraps it up for now, but this is far from being the complete list. We will keep you updated once the final version releases in August (hopefully).


Saikat Kar



Google has released a free Motion Stills app that allows any Android phone with a built-in gyroscope that runs Android 5.1 or higher access to the latest augmented reality technology. Google's latest app was built with editing videos and GIFS in mind. It allows the user to capture short videos and change them into stunning cinemagraphs or sweeping cinematic pans using their advanced rendering and stabilization technology. Now you can combine AR stickers and clips into movies or create looping GIFS that you can easily share with your friends.


Not Just For Pixel 2


Google Pixel 2 owners have already been enjoying adding a host of fun AR stickers, including R2-D2 and Stranger Things characters, into the real world using the device's built-in ARCore technology. Pixel 2 owners with the Android Oreo 8.1 update received early access to Google's library of AR stickers since December last year.

This is no longer an exclusive club of AR aficionados as Google's Motion Still app is opening the market by making it easier to access. The latest version of the Motion Stills app brings all the fun of these AR stickers to a decent cross section of Android devices, making it easy for anyone to insert 3D objects into the surroundings before recording.


Motion Still Features


With Motion Still, you can:


        Use the AR mode to add fun characters to your surroundings.

        Create a short, 3 second clip with a simple tap of your screen.

        Condense up to a minute of video into a short clip by using the Fast Forward mode.

        Combine clips to create movies with a simple swipe to the right.

        Share your Motion Stills as short videos or cool looping GIF's directly with your friends.


The AR functionality is by far the most appealing feature of the app. Using this function you can stick an animated 3D object on any surface, even if it is moving. You can then record a video or GIF of the animated character's actions in the real world and share your Motion Stills clip directly with your friends. Sounds pretty awesome!


How Does the App Work?


You can get into the finer technical details of the app on Google Research's blog but the short explanation is that the app will track your phone's 3D rotation and location in relation to the ground or any flat surface that is in view. With this data, it is able to insert a 3D object into your real world surroundings and will scale up and down proportionally as you move closer or further from the AR character. This could be implemented in many ways and would also making playing at River Belle casino and any other gaming site so much more interactive.


Accessing AR Technology is Becoming Easier


Google is paving the way in terms of making the wonders of augmented reality technology more accessible to a wider audience. You'll probably have noticed that some of the best and most recent apps in the augmented reality category are confined almost exclusively to more advanced phones that run the latest operating software. So it's a great thing that Google is trying to grow the market by making these AR features available on any Android device that runs Android 5.1 or higher. Of course, the hope is that these new users will enjoy the taste of AR so much that they'll be more inclined to upgrade to the Pixel 2 which comes standard with the more advanced ARCore tech.

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