4 likely Google Assistant improvements we can’t wait to see


Android P, a new version of Google’s mobile operating system, is due out later this year and will include a deeper Google Assistant integration, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg today.

It’s just the latest in a series of new features for Google Assistant rumored about in recent days and weeks based on APK teardowns, anonymous sources, and other means.

Not all information gained from these sources leads to real change, but if true, these developments would be in line with Google’s strategy to place its Assistant at the heart of its software and hardware offerings.

1. Deeper Google Assistant integration for Android

With Android P, developers will be able to bring Google Assistant into their apps, which could lead to Android-Google Assistant experiences more in line with the way Siri interacts with some third-party iOS apps.

A modification for Android phones to allow a forward-facing notch like the iPhone X is also coming soon, a move to allow Android smartphone makers to continue to compete for high-end iPhone users by putting camera and sensors on the front of smartphones.

The company is also considering integration of Google Assistant into the Google search bar on the Android home screen controlled by the Google app.

Alongside a deeper Google Assistant integration in Android, the chat and conversational experience on Android devices may continue to change, with an upgrade to Android Messages on the way.

2. Google Assistant for Chromebooks

Google released the Pixelbook with Assistant inside late last year, and could be planning to bring it to the Chrome OS for Chromebooks.

If true, Chromebooks would be the latest Google hardware to incorporate its Assistant since Nest joined Google’s hardware team last week for deeper integrations with Google Assistant and Google Cloud AI services, and it would mean Assistant will begin to work its way into the classroom where Google enjoys an advantage over its rivals.

More than 25 million teachers and students use Chromebooks worldwide, while more than half of all primary and secondary school students in the United States use Google education apps.

Google upped its smarts for kids and students last year with tutoring apps and games made especially for kids, as well as Family Link integration to make voice recognition for kids 12 and under.

In addition to the potential Chromebook expansion, since Google Assistant launched in 2016, it has been integrated into Android smartphones, Android tablets, Pixelbook, Pixel Buds, and millions of Home products sold in the fast-growing smart speaker market.

It’s also been used to roll out exclusive features to Pixel smartphone owners, such as its Lens computer vision AI that can do things like recognize artworks, identify landmarks, or draw email addresses or URLs from photos.

3. Secondary languages

Google Assistant support is expanding to additional languages as Google chases to keep up with Amazon, which expanded to more than 80 countries in December 2017.

Next up appears to be Russian and Hindi. Google Assistant is already able to speak English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Also potentially on the way: support for a secondary language.

Providing support for more than one language would be helpful to users in multilingual societies where a person may, for example, articulate some things better in English and others better in Spanish.

This would help Google as it expands to more countries, making dialect and localization of language more essential to effective voice computing services.

4. Additional or custom Google Assistant wakewords

According to a recent Android Police APK teardown, Google Assistant could soon respond to new or custom wakewords. Today Google Assistant only responds to “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” Support for custom wakewords would essentially allow you to name your Google Assistant whatever you want.

It doesn’t seem like a massive technological leap forward or major market play like other potential new features, but I welcome the chance to summon Google Assistant without the need to say Google.

Apple – VentureBeat

Project Treble compatibility unofficially ported to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, more devices likely to follow

One of Android’s biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.

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Project Treble compatibility unofficially ported to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, more devices likely to follow was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Women More Likely To Judge Their Dates Based On Age Of Their Smartphone And Model, Survey Says

According to new survey, women are 92% more likely than men to judge the person they are meeting for a date based on the age of their smartphone and model.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Redmond Pie

Apple likely to post a record-setting $84 billion in quarterly revenue for Q4 2017

Apple Earnings

Amid reports that Apple is planning to drastically scale back iPhone X production next quarter, the company later this week may very well post its most impressive earnings report in history. We’ll get a handle on specific figures at the close of trading on Thursday, but in the interim, the consensus on Wall St. is that Apple will post revenue of about $ 87 billion and EPS in the $ 3.83 range. If Apple should come anywhere close to meeting those figures — and there’s no reason to believe it won’t — it will easily mark the most successful quarter in company history.

By way of comparison, Apple during the same quarter a year-ago posted $ 78.4 billion in quarterly revenue and overall earnings of $ 3.36. Incidentally, the $ 78.4 billion figure still stands as Apple’s most successful quarter to date. And with Apple last quarter providing revenue guidance in the $ 84 billion to $ 87 billion range, it’s a safe bet that Apple during the most recent holiday quarter shattered a number of records.

As a quick point of interest, the most bullish Apple analysts are projecting revenue of $ 90.2 billion while bearish analysts are anticipating revenue to hover around the $ 84 billion mark. And as far as overall earnings are concerned, the highest estimate we’ve seen is $ 4.12 per share while the lowest estimate is $ 3.41 per share.

Per usual, the key metric investors will be looking at will be overall iPhone sales. And though Apple has a history of not breaking out iPhone sales across specific models, the cumulative figure should nonetheless provide us with a little bit of insight into how successful Apple’s recent iPhone lineup is faring. For some additional context, it’s worth noting that Apple during the 2017 holiday quarter sold 78.2 million iPhones, a decent 5% increase compared to the 2016 holiday quarter.

As for iPhone sales estimates for the recent holiday quarter, some analysts are anticipating Apple to post sales in the 82 million range. If that projection pans out, that would represent about a 4.8% increase year over year. That said, with the pricey iPhone X accounting for a percentage of those sales, it stands to reason that revenue from the iPhone will be even higher for Q4 2017 than it was during Q4 2016.

Apple – BGR

Eddy Cue confirmed as SXSW keynote speaker, likely to talk Apple’s TV plans

SXSW, the popular annual event that features film, music, media, and tech conferences and festivals, has announced its latest round of featured speakers for this year which includes Apple’s own Eddy Cue. While Apple has played its original content efforts close to the chest so far, Cue might shed more light on what we can expect from Apple in this area.

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