Phones

Apple Calls For Best Macro Photos In Latest Shot On iPhone Challenge

Apple Calls For Best Macro Photos In Latest Shot On iPhone Challenge

p>Apple's latest Shot on iPhone Challenge gets underway January 25, 2022, with the company encouraging users to submit their best macro photos taken with the iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max. With each new release of the iPhone, Apple increases the quality and ability of the built-in camera. The iPhone's camera has even reached the point where some filmmakers have used it as their main camera when shooting feature films (via IMDB).

Continue Reading

Leaked Google Pixel foldable clues point to a more affordable gadget

Leaked Google Pixel foldable clues point to a more affordable gadget

There is no denying that Google has been toying around with the idea of a foldable smartphone for a while now. Through 2021, we heard multiple reports of the company working on a much-talked-about device that even received an unoriginal name; the 'Pixel Foldable.' Towards the end of 2021, reports came in indicating that Google was no longer pursuing a foldable strategy and that the Pixel Foldable was essentially dead. This even prompted SlashGear' Ewdison Then to pen an op-ed elaborating why it would be a missed opportunity for Google, and the larger Android ecosystem.

Continue Reading

Samsung Galaxy S22 leak hints at a spec compromise

Samsung Galaxy S22 leak hints at a spec compromise

Last week, we reported about Samsung's plans to unveil the Galaxy S22 series at the first Galaxy Unpacked event for 2022. The event, which is likely to be held on February 8, 2022, will see the company announce the much-awaited Samsung Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and the S22 Ultra devices to replace its existing S21 series. Samsung's official blog post announcing the event also dropped subtle hints that point toward the likelihood of the top-end Galaxy S22 Ultra being a veritable Galaxy Note replacement.

Continue Reading

iPhone 13 pink screen bug has Apple on the defensive

iPhone 13 pink screen bug has Apple on the defensive

Apple may be known for manufacturing an assortment of different colored iPhones, but a recent issue with the iPhone 13 brings a splash of color to the least pleasing place of all: the screen. According to some users, the entire screen is turning bright pink, rendering the devices unusable. 

Continue Reading

Google Pixel 6a reveal may come sooner than expected

Google Pixel 6a reveal may come sooner than expected

If you love the Google Pixel 6 series, but don't really fancy spending at least $599 to get the Pixel 6, it might be a good idea to wait a few more months and get hold of the upcoming (and cheaper) Pixel 6a. The company is reportedly readying the Pixel 6a for launch a tad earlier than usual. Google typically refreshes its affordable Pixel A series devices in August of every year. However, 2022 may see that date pushed ahead to May, probably coinciding with this year's Google I/O conference. 

Continue Reading

This is the real voice behind Google Assistant

This is the real voice behind Google Assistant

When using Google Assistant, most of us don't even consider who the voice is coming from — after all, it's artificial intelligence, not a real person. Our virtual assistants, be it Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, are always at our beck and call, but we (for the most part) remain well-aware of the fact that they're just lines of code and intricate algorithms. But how would you feel if you knew that Google Assistant has a very human backstory?

In an interview with The Atlantic, James Giangola, the lead conversation and persona designer at Google, spoke about the Assistant at great length. When the team set out to create its AI-based assistant, they knew that the line between a cool, futuristic feature and a mildly creepy if uncanny voice bot is very, very thin. Google Assistant was never meant to seem human — that would just be disturbing — but she was meant to be just human enough to make us feel comfortable. To achieve that elusive feeling of somewhat reserved comfort, Giangola and his team went to great lengths to perfect the Assistant.

You'd think that just hiring a skilled voice actor would be enough, but there was much more to consider than just finding a pleasant voice. James Giangola set out on a quest to make the Google Assistant sound normal and to hide that alien feeling of speaking to a robot. In order to do this, he made up a lengthy backstory for the Assistant.

A robot with an extensive backstory

When searching for the right voice actress and then training her later on, The Atlantic notes that James Giangola came up with a very specific backstory for the AI. He did so because he wanted Google Assistant to appear real, and in order to give it a distinct personality, he gave the voice actress a lengthy background on the Assistant. First and foremost, the Assistant comes from Colorado, which gives her a neutral accent.

She comes from a well-read family and is the youngest daughter of a physics professor (who has a B.A. in art history from Northwestern University, no less) and a research librarian. She once worked for "a very popular late-night-TV satirical pundit" as a personal assistant. She was always a smart kid, she won $100,000 on the Kids Edition of "Jeopardy." Oh, and she also likes kayaking. Let's not forget: She's not real.

The need to create such a specific backstory may seem questionable, and it actually was questioned by James Giangola's colleagues. However, Giangola was able to prove his point during the audition process. When a colleague asked him how does anyone even sound like they're into kayaking, Giangola fired back: "The candidate who just gave an audition — do you think she sounded energetic, like she's up for kayaking?" And she didn't, which to Giangola meant that she wasn't the right voice.

Google aimed for 'upbeat geekiness'

Aside from nailing the exact tone of her voice, which The Atlantic described as "upbeat geekiness," the Assistant had to be trained to sound human not just by voice, but also by speech patterns and rhythms. In the interview, James Giangola talks about some of the different small changes that were made to take the Assistant from robotic to almost natural.

To illustrate the example, Giangola played a recording in which the AI had to contradict a user who wanted to book something on June 31. It had to be done in a delicate, natural-sounding manner that still delivers the required information. When prompted, the Assistant replied: "Actually, June has only 30 days," achieving the level of vocal realism Giangola was looking for.

Although the Assistant's intricate backstory may seem overkill, it seems to have helped Google find the right voice actress. According to Tech Bezeer, the main voice of the Assistant is Antonia Flynn, who was cast back in 2016. However, Google is not very forthcoming with information about who exactly voices each version of the Assistant, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The information originates from Reddit, where a user was able to track Flynn down based on her voice, but only Google knows whether she really is the friendly AI inside our mobile devices.

Redmi Note 11 Pro leaked: Why this one matters

Redmi Note 11 Pro leaked: Why this one matters

The Redmi Note is Xiaomi's most popular smartphone series and certainly has a major contribution in propelling it to the spot of the world's third-largest smartphone brand — even without officially selling in the U.S. The company recently announced on Twitter that it sold a staggering 240 million Redmi Note units worldwide. This announcement was followed by another on Twitter about the global launch of the Redmi Note 11 series, scheduled for January 26th.

Continue Reading

The 5 best and 5 worst things about Huawei Smartphones

The 5 best and 5 worst things about Huawei Smartphones

There was a time, not too long ago, when Huawei almost took over the smartphone world. Bagging marketing contracts with big Hollywood names like Henry Cavill, Scarlett Johansson, and Gal Godot, the company seemed poised to be the next big thing in the global market for mobile phones. When it managed to surpass Apple in global sales numbers back in 2019, its victory against Samsung to become the top-selling smartphone provider in the world was almost assured. 

Continue Reading

Android 12L Beta 2 released for your Pixel

Android 12L Beta 2 released for your Pixel

You can now try out the latest Android 12L Beta 2 on your Google Pixel device. Released on January 12, 2022, the latest 12L Beta 2 fixes several annoying issues and can be downloaded by the owners of many Pixel devices. Android is also working on bringing the Beta 2 to a wider range of Pixels. In the release notes prepared by Android, the company offers information on what exactly the Android 12L Beta 2 entails, as well as what issues may pop up when using the beta. Like any fully unreleased piece of software, it comes with some risks, but the beta has also managed to address several known issues present in the current version of Android.

Continue Reading

Motorola Razr 3 leak hints next foldable will be more than just a fun gadget

Motorola Razr 3 leak hints next foldable will be more than just a fun gadget

The era of flip phones came to an end in the late 2000s, but foldable phones are cutting-edge technology—and the new Motorola Razr 3 will soon be here to prove it. According to XDA Developers, the successor to the Motorola Razr 5G will come with an upgraded processor, Android 12, and other improvements. The device is also said to feature massive amounts of storage and RAM, as well as several powerful cameras.

Continue Reading

First OnePlus 10 Pro release date moved: Here’s why

First OnePlus 10 Pro release date moved: Here’s why

The OnePlus 10 Pro is ready to roll in China first, and the rest of the world second. As we've been told directly by a OnePlus representative that the company "moved the launch" of the OnePlus 10 Pro "forward from its original schedule" specifically due to the Chinese New Year holiday. Yes, it is fairly easy to predict when the new year celebration will take place each year, but availability of tech here in 2022 isn't as simple to plan for as it once was.

Continue Reading

TikTok is unimpressed by these iPhone 14 rumors

TikTok is unimpressed by these iPhone 14 rumors

With iPhone 14 on the horizon, rumors about the new Apple flagship are spreading like wildfire—and the internet, of course, reacts. TikTok user @carterpcs uploaded a quick video asking for opinions about the phone's rumored new design. Spoiler alert: People don't seem to love it.

Continue Reading

1 2 3 4 Next