In a little under four hours, Google will kick off what's sure to be a very busy Google I/O Developer conference. It has already been established that the company will preview the next L version of Android, the new wearable platform called Android Wear, and a fourth attempt to capture the living room with Android TV. The next best thing to actually seeing it live is being able to watch the news as it's announced. The Google I/O livestream will kick off at 9AM PDT (12 PM ET) at google.com/events/io.
Apple wants Siri to be the way that people across the world communicate with their smartphones, and it can't do that if the app isn't available in every language. To that end, The company has posted several job listing looking for experts in natural language recognition and engineers who are "Experts in foreign languages." The languages Apple hopes to eventually enhance or add include: Norwegian, Turkish, Danish, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Thai, and Russian. Users should not expect to see the fruits of these labors bear in time for the release of iOS 8 this fall, but it's good to know Apple is strengthening its voice command search system.
Google has made its Voice Search system capable of understanding Indian accents. While Voice Search has always had issues with English as a second language speakers, the update makes it possible for people from India who speak English with a heavy accent to better communicate with their smartphones. Google took voice samples from more than 700 people and used that extra data to better distinguish speaking patterns and inflections that had previously tripped up the speech recognition software. Android 2.3 or later devices should be able to test out the new speech options.
Samsung began accepting pre-orders for the Galaxy Tab S last week, and the company has now confirmed that it will begin selling the Super AMOLED tabs next week. General availability for the Tab S 8.4 and 10.5 models will begin June 27th when the Wi-Fi models go on sale for $399.99 and $499.99 respectively. The tablet will be available in white or bronze and will be sold at Best Buy. AT&T previously stated that it would carry the cellular model of the Galaxy Tab S, but there's still no confirmed date for that launch. For now, interested Tab S buyers will have to stick with Wi-Fi to get a look at that Super AMOLED display.
Twitter today introduced a feature that many have wanted and others have hoped would never make it to the popular social network - animated GIFs. The official Twitter app for Android, iOS, and the web now allows users to upload and view GIFs directly within the app. There's no word on when this feature will roll out to Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, or third-party clients on any mobile operating system. For now, Android and iPhone users can tap on an image to begin the animation, so users won't see a stream of pre-loading GIFs on their phones.
BlackBerry today announced that it will supplement its OS with the Amazon Appstore. Tucked away in that announcement was the news that BlackBerry is shuttering the music and video sections of BlackBerry World, meaning we will soon see an end to the digital content side of BB World. Anyone wishing to purchase media will have to turn to the third party apps available on BlackBerry World because the video and music sections will be closed on July 21, 2014. Users will still be able to download content that they have already purchased, but no new sales or updates will take place after next month.
Facebook has increased the number of ways that people can communicate with each other with the release of a new instant video sharing option. The new feature works similar to the voice notes feature that debuted months ago; users tap the camera and then hold send to record a 15-second short video to share with someone. There's an option to delete the message before it is sent by tapping the X that appears while loading, or swiping away before the 15 seconds finishes. Video messages are available for Android and iOS.
On June 12 at 7PM EDT, Samsung will take the stage at Madison Square Garden to debut a new line of tablets. It's likely that the event will be the introduction of the Galaxy Tab S series that may come in 8-inch and 10.5-inch varieties. The AMOLED displays and faux leather backs will be familiar hallmarks of Samsung's products, but other details are yet to be revealed. When the event finally kicks off, Samsung will stream all of the happenings live at the Samsung Mobile YouTube page. We'll be there for hands-on video, but you can watch the announcement Thursday evening.
It appears there may be another music streaming deal on the horizon, though this one will not be as high as the mega-deal that saw Apple purchase Beats for $3 billion. Google is set to purchase an older curated music system, Songza, for $15 million, according to the New York Post. However, it is unclear if Songza will accept the deal. While Apple reportedly paid $500 million for Beats 200,000-plus paid subscribers, Songza has 5 million active listeners who use the ad-supported music service. Though that's a seemingly very low valuation given the number of subscribers Songza has, Songza generates considerably less revenue than rival services because it does not have many ads.
Aereo has made its live TV streaming app compatible with Google Chromecast, meaning subscribers should be able to dump their traditional TV hook-ups and stream over-the-air broadcasts to Chromecast. The Aereo Android app can watch live broadcasts or manage a DVR, and the controls on a smartphone or tablet now include the ability to view streams through Chromecast. Now comes the hard part: getting the Supreme Court to rule that Aereo is a legal broadcast tool so the company can remain in business. A pending court case will decide Aereo's fate, but until that decision arrives, TV viewers in select cities can bring Aereo to their living room for $8 per month.