All the latest that you may have missed in mobile news this week, including a pair of new Samsung tablets, a Microsoft smartwatch and Facebook mobile videos.
1. Microsoft smartwatch spotted in the wild
While Microsoft looks very likely to be planning on launching a smartwatch soon, we don’t have a great deal of information about it. However, a little more is known now thanks to an eagle-eyed writer at tech site GearLive, who spotted one being road tested in New York. The word? It looks a lot like the Samsung Gear Fit and features Windows Phone-style icons in its UI.
2. Google could be entering health-monitoring market
US business magazine Forbes reports that Google is working on a new development that will see it entering the high-tech health monitoring arena. Known as Google Fit, the software is set to collate data from wearables such as smartbands and help developers use this in their apps. This would put Google in further competition with Samsung and its S Health fitness suite seen on recent high-end Galaxy smartphones.
3. Samsung announces Galaxy Tab S in two sizes
Rarely do any Samsung launches go under the radar, but the emergence of the latest devices in the Tab range has been very low key. Two tablets have been released, featuring 8.4-inch and 10.5-inch screens and following the design theme seen on the Galaxy S5. Samsung has produced a short promo video, which you can take a look at below.
4. Microsoft could be working on a Google Glass rival
Patents filed by Microsoft reveal that the firm has been working on a series of touch control gestures that would be used in a pair of smart glasses. Admittedly, these patents were filed in 2012 and have only just become public, but they do point towards the software giant keeping a firm eye on what Google has been doing with Glass in recent years.
5. Facebook Messenger adds short video sharing
An update to the Facebook messenger app for iOS and Android lets users now capture and share 15 second video clips, in the style of Instagram. The update, version 6.0, also adds extra photo editing options, something which may have been inspired by Instagram again.
6. Beats Music for Android gets an update
An interesting update to the Android version of Beats Music now lets users save downloaded tracks to a microSD card. This addresses one of the biggest problems with music subscription services on smartphones, where tunes are often saved as app data on a handset’s internal memory, taking up a lot of space. The update also offers improved playback and a refined recommendations service.
7. Samsung turns to pedal power
Smartwatches and smart bands are everywhere, but smart bikes are a new one on us. Nevertheless, Samsung has teamed up with Italian cycle-maker Giovanni Pelizzoli to create a two-wheeled wonder that is packed with tech and powered by a Samsung phone. Take a look at it in the video below.
8. Google Now to pencil in appointments
Yes, Google reads your emails. The search giant is rolling out a Google Now feature that will pencil in appointments that you have discussed in GMail messages before you actually create a calendar event for them. Useful, certainly, but there may be something a little unnerving about it all.
9. Nokia speeds up 4G
Having sold its phone business to Microsoft, what’s left of Nokia is still very much pushing the boundaries. A joint experiment between the firm and Chinese network SK Telecoms saw a 5GB file being transferred in 11 seconds, using a new version of LTE that may one day make it to everyday users. Imagine getting that kind of speed when you’re out and about.
10. Starbucks trials wireless charging
The coffee chain has teamed up with Duracell to offer wireless charging in some of its shops. The scheme is so far restricted to the US, but it could be a very interesting perk if it rolls-out further in the future, seeing people charging up their smartphones while relaxing with a brew.