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Google’s Live Caption could land in the Chrome desktop browser

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A recent commit on the Chromium Gerrit reveals Google’s Live Caption functionality found on the Pixel 4 could be coming to the Chrome desktop browser. This commit is for the Speech On-Device API (SODA) service, and it contains all of the necessary components to launch the service, though it still in its early stages of development.

SODA is a service developed by Google’s Speech team that enables live transcription. This commit references Chrome Live Caption directly, so it makes sense to conclude this could look very similar to what we see on the Pixel 4 today.

A comment on the commit directly compares this potential implementation to Android’s existing Live Caption feature, claiming the team “should use ‘Live Captions’ when using a name for the feature to match what’s done on Android.” On the other hand, another comment says this Chrome implementation could go beyond what Live Caption on mobile is capable of, suggesting this service should keep the name SODA since a different name could be useful.

Either way, if some form of Live Caption lands in Google Chrome, users should be able to transcribe audio on the fly from all over the web. This would be an incredibly useful browser accessibility tool for the hearing impaired or anyone who just wants to use their device without audio.

In addition to the Chrome news, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S20 series will be the first non-Pixel phones to receive Live Caption functionality. Samsung said users should expect this feature out of the box.

Developing Live Caption was quite a feat in itself, so it makes sense Google would want to include it in as many places as possible. Working with Samsung to add Live Caption to their devices potentially puts it in the hands of millions of people around the world, and adding it to Chrome means nearly every Chromebook should get it too.

Not only that, but Chrome is far and away the most popular browser on the desktop, meaning the feature would be available to nearly everyone with a computer. It will be interesting to see where else Google might implement this functionality in the future.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/google-chrome-live-caption-1083395/

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The Future

Microsoft Documents Confirm Futuristic Surface Plans

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It’s rare that you see a Microsoft Surface device being promoted without its Surface Pen. It’s a key feature that is talked up regularly by the Surface team, and it’s one area ripe for innovation. The latest details show work continues to make a more intelligent Pen.

The details come from a patent titled “Stylus for Zero Force Activation” and details a system to improve the Surface Pen’s ability know when to switch to inking mode. Mayank Parmar reports:

“…Microsoft says the stylus still uses a vibrating tip to determine when the contact with a surface occurs. The patented Surface Pen also comes with a capsule that is designed to minimize the motion of the shaft and the shaft runs parallel to the length of the stylus.

“The tip has two antennas and one is connected to the shaft using a track made of metal material. There’s also a transmitter located in its tip and it can detect the position of the stylus tip, and then quickly switch to inking mode.”

Microsoft’s Surface vision has always been built around different modes of working. Think of the Surface Pro 2-in-1s with their detachable keyboards that allowed for a tablet experience with and without qwerty input. Think of the Surface Book’s outstanding feature of a laptop with a fully detachable screen? Even in the Surface Laptop, which doesn’t have a physical transformation you can still move between pen input and trackpad movements. Surface is about multiple modes, and switching between them quickly and easily.

That includes the Surface Pen. It has two modes of use. The first is the more traditional stylus-based approach to computing, replicating the ideas of a mouse or trackpad in operation. The second mode is inking mode, where your artistic flair can take over.

Allowing the Surface Pen to better understand when to switch modes, to decrease the delay in switching modes, and to create a ‘magical’ experience mixing stylus- and inking-modes, is a natural next step for Microsoft to address.

As always, a published patent does show the direction a company is taking with hardware development, but it does not guarantee that this technology will be seen on consumer devices. But some patents heel more likely to show up than others. This one feels like something we’ll be seeing in the near future.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2020/10/18/microsoft-surface-pen-inking-stylus-patent-surface-pro-surface-book/#5104855019ad

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The Future

100W wireless charging could be a thing next year

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  • A new leak points to 100W wireless charging by several brands in 2021.
  • Heat and battery degradation would likely be two key challenges for the tech.

We’ve seen major strides in fast charging in the last two years, as smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, BBK, and Xiaomi upped the ante for both wired and wireless charging. We’ve previously seen wired charging top out at ~120W in recent months, but wireless charging solutions aren’t far behind, either.

Now, frequent leaker Digital Chat Station has claimed that several manufacturers are targeting 100W wireless charging for phones launching in 2021. Check out the post below.

Digital Chat Station 100W wireless charging

This would be a major leap over current wireless charging standards. We’ve seen 40W wireless charging in the likes of the Oppo Ace 2 and Huawei P40 Pro Plus respectively. Oppo has also announced 65W wireless charging technology earlier this year, although we haven’t seen it on a commercial device just yet.

Nevertheless, we do wonder about heat and battery degradation with a move to 100W wireless charging. Oppo in particular stated that its 125W wired charging solution degraded the battery to 80% capacity after 800 charging cycles, compared to its 65W wired solution dropping down to 90% capacity after 800 cycles. So hopefully brands address this challenge adequately with 100W wireless charging.

Another concern with this tech is compatibility with other Qi charging devices. Oppo’s 65W wireless charging solution defaults to significantly slower 10W or even 5W topups for other Qi-compatible phones.

Source: https://www.androidauthority.com/100w-wireless-charging-1166327/

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The Future

An iPhone 12 to please everyone — well, except Android fans

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Remember when there was just an iPhone, and the only decisions you needed to make were capacity and color?

Well, if you like having lots of options, the iPhone 12 sounds like it’s the handset for you, with the latest rumors suggesting lots of choice.

It seems Apple wants to make an iPhone 12 for everyone — well, maybe not Android fans.

So far, we expect the iPhone 12 to be offered in the following configurations:

  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Mini

So, what’s going to be the differences between them?

Good question!

All are expected to be powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, and all are expected to feature 5G. However, super-fast mmWave support could be reserved for the Pro models. Another commonality is that none will come with earbuds or a charger, but you will get a snazzy braided USB-C-to-Lightning cable.

The most obvious difference is going to be display size.

  • iPhone 12: 6.1-inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1-inch
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 5.4-inch

There are likely to be other differences to differentiate the Pro Max from the rest of the pack. The two biggest features — LiDAR depth sensor and 120Hz high refresh rate panel — are likely to be Pro Max only features.

Another difference that users will care about is battery size. The bigger the handset, the beefier the battery.

Rumors point to following capacities:

  • iPhone 12: 2,775 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 2,775 or 2,815 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,690 mAh
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 2,230 mAh

Another thing that people care about — because it can turn a cheap iPhone into an expensive one — is storage capacities. These are likely to be as follows:

  • iPhone 12: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 128GB | 256GB | 512GB
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 64GB | 128GB | 256GB

RAM is another differentiator. The split here is likely to be Pro/non-Pro

  • iPhone 12: 4GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro: 6GB
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6GB
  • iPhone 12 Mini: 4GB

Finally, starting price.

  • iPhone 12: $749
  • iPhone 12 Pro: $999
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1099
  • iPhone 12 Mini: $649

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/an-iphone-12-to-please-everyone-well-except-android-fans/

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