Good news for Nexus One owners. Google yesterday began rolling out an over-the-air software update aimed at fixing a few problems users might have been having, as well as adding a handful of new features, including pinch-to-zoom functionality in the phone's Browser, Gallery, and Maps applications.
Google Maps also received a bit of attention in the latest update (to version 3.4). Starred items are now synchronized with maps.google.com, giving users the ability to access their favorite places from their phone or PC. It also now includes search suggestions from the user's personal maps.google.com history, and Night mode in Google Maps Navigation now automatically changes the screen at night.
Other new features include the addition of Google Goggles directly on the device by launching it from the All Apps menu, and a "general fix to help improve 3G connectivity on some Nexus One phones."
If you haven't received the update just yet, don't fret. Google says it's rolling out firmware gradually and that most users might not receive the update notification until the end of the week.
Good news for anyone who's been eyeing up Wacom's Bamboo line. The tablet maker announced it has added multi-touch and gestures to its Bamboo devices, giving users another dimension beyond the traditional pressure sensitive pen, Wired.com reports.
Three new models were introduced, including the pen only, touch-only, and one that does both. Each one comes with 512 pressure levels in the pen tip, with the active area of the tablets measuring 5.8 x 3.6 inches. The multi-touch and gestures support means users can now navigate, click, double-click, right-click, scroll, select & drag, rotate, zoom, and perform other functions all with finger taps or finger movements.
Both the Touch and Pen models are priced at $70, while the Pen & Touch runs a cool C-note.
So AMD’s ATI graphics division has got something in the works that supports up to six monitors.
If you’ve ever navigated even two displays with a mouse, you may realize something: multiple, high resolution displays may be outstripping the mouse’s capability as a primary user interface tool. Now toss in six 30-inch monitors – 24 whopping megapixels in all – and you’ve got a real problem. Even if you drop that to six more affordable 1920x1080 displays, that’s still over 12 megapixels you need to navigate. Just visually tracking the mouse cursor becomes problematic.
Still, it's a setup I’d love to have.
What’s needed for huge pixel count displays is multi-touch. Windows 7 now incorporates an actually useful multi-touch display capability, but it’s currently relegated to all-in-one PCs with multi-touch, a handful of laptops and the expensive (at $12,500 a pop) Microsoft Surface. Still, multi-touch isn’t perfect.
When we last visited the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, we gave it a relatively good score based on its sleek, black matte chassis, its comfortable ergonomic keyboard and its reliable on-the-go specifications, which included a 128GB SSD. Now, the T400s has had a minor overhaul in hardware (including a touchscreen LCD) and software and we were lucky enough to get some hands-on playtime with the still-in-beta SimpleTap multi-touch software.
On Tuesday, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch reiterated the company’s promise to release a beta version of its Flash 10 player for mobiles by the end of this year. He was addressing analysts at an event specially organized for them. He went on to add that the mobile version of Flash will begin making full use of APIs by the beginning of next year. This will allow the mobile variant of Flash to fully tap such hardware features as multi-touch and accelerometer, which are found on an increasing number of smartphones.
You've seen the demos of multitouch, and you might even have a PC that supports Windows 7's multitouch, but what can you do with it? If you're in the market for a PC that supports multi-touch, Microsoft is making a multitouch PC even more appealing by announcing its Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7.
Microsoft Touch Pack is a product of the collaboration between the Windows and Surface development teams, and as a result, Microsoft Touch Pack includes three Microsoft Surface applications and three casual games. Here's what you get:
Microsoft Surface Globe enables you to navigate the Virtual Earth 3D version of the world by touch, and lets you get local information as you "fly" by particular places.
Microsoft Surface Collage brings one of the original Microsoft Surface "touch and move the photos" demos to life, adding the ability to convert a collage into a desktop background.
Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a multi-touch enabled screensaver - watch fish gather around your "submerged" finger.
Casual gamers can enjoy the Rube Goldbergesque Microsoft Blackboard, a mashup of death rays and air hockey in Microsoft Rebound, and float origami on the water in Microsoft Garden Pond.
To find out who gets their hands on Microsoft Touch Pack first, join us after the jump.
We're not sure what to make of Moixa's 'Sphere' I/O interface device, for which the company was recently awarded a patent. Moixa describes the device as an "apple sized multi-touch sphere that can be used to display the world (e.g. Google Earth), browse web pages, or control interactive games." Sounds intriguing.
Moixa says the device also weighs about the same as an apple, and can be collapsed to be either used or stored in its second form. This could change, of course, as the concept remains in render form, just as Art.Lebedev's OLED keyboard did before a shipping product finally emerged.
"In the future, phones and portable computing devices reduce to input/output and power. Sphere reinvents the look and feel of the advanced portable device as we rely more on services, memory and mapping stored on the web," commented Simon Daniel, Moixa founder.
Anyone see this concept becoming an actual product? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
It's hard to imagine anyone being able to bully Google into submission, but according to Venture Beat, that's exactly what Apple did. The report claims Apple encouraged Google not to use multi-touch technology in the Android-based G1 mobile phone, and Google agreed, Venture Beat says citing an un-named Android team member as the source.
"Further, the Android team member went on to say that they were relieved that Google didn't go against Apple's wishes, given the legal storm that appears to be brewing between Apple and Palm, which is using multi-touch technology in its new Pre phone," Venture Beat writes.
And that might not be the only influence Apple had on the G1 handset. According to technology blogger John Gruber, a source told him Apple also took issue with a pre-release G1 prototype Google showed to them over its standard headphone jack. The unidentified source claims Apple owns a patent on "controlling software using buttons connected by a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (at least for music and video playback controls), and would not grant Google a license to the patent."
Getting back to the multi-touch issue, it will be interesting to see if future Android-based handsets implement the technology, even with the threat of a lawsuit lingering.
If you followed David Murphy's path to building a budget PC with a cardboard chassis, then why not compliment it with your own homebrewed Surface, also with a cardboard exterior?
Microsoft technology evangelist Paul Foster posted a YouTube video showing how you can build a functioning multi-touch surface using budget parts. Items you'll need are paper, scissors, picture frame with glass, tape, cardboard box, a webcam, and multi-touch software such as Touchlib.
From start to finish, it takes Foster less than four minutes to complete the project and run a short demonstration. Of course, that's with a cardboard box - skilled modders will want to invest a bit more time coming up with custom enclosure.
As predicted, HP today announced that they will immediately begin taking orders for the TouchSmart TX2, the first multi touch laptop widely available to consumers. The laptop, priced starting at $1,199, will begin shipping at the end of November.
The TX2’s multi touch interface will work with any program that already supports multi touch, as well as with HP’s integrated MediaSmart media suite. The laptop features an array of gestural controls, including all of the multi touch standards, like pinch-zooming and two finger rotation, as well as the ability to open MediaSmart at any time by drawing an “m” on the screen with both fingers. The screen uses capacitance-based touch detection and is designed to accept input either from the pad of a finger or from a built-in digital pen.
With a 12.1 inch screen and weighing in at 4.3 pounds, the TX2 is physically nearly identical to its predecessor, the TX2000. The only thing differentiating the two visually is the TX2’s glossy, charcoal-colored finish and “Reaction Imprint” design.
All but the cheapest loadouts of the TX2 come equipped with Turion X2 dual-core processors. All models will ship with Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, and consumers can opt for up to 8GB of DDR2 SDRAM and 500GB of hard disk storage. The laptop also features a webcam and optional fingerprint reader.
What do you think of the TX2? Are multi touch laptops going to become the norm? Let us know after the jump.