Tag Archives: android

Visiobike: The E-Bike That Connects With Your Smartphone

With a smartphone in almost every pocket and e-bicycles constantly getting better, it was only a matter of time when the two would start working together.

Visiobike, an e-bike project from Croatia is an electric bike that goes hand-in-hand with your smartphone. You can use the phone to unlock the bike, track your speed or even see what’s behind you using the built-in rear camera.Visio_Bike

We had a chance to go hands-on with a late Visiobike prototype, and we were impressed with the amount of details and thought put into the project.

The smartphone (both Android and iPhone are supported) has a dedicated cradle on the bike’s handlebar, but it connects to the bike wirelessly, via Bluetooth. You can see a GPS map of your surroundings or statistics about your ride on the phone, with all your data being stored in the cloud.

Another important feature is automatic accident recording and emergency alert if Visiobike detects an impact. And on the security front, the Visiobike has GPS tracking and a motion sensor with SMS notification, so that you know what’s happening with your bike at all times.

We’ve seen e-bike-smartphone integration before — the Gi bike has done something similar, but with its folding design, it’s a very different bicycle.

The Visiobike doesn’t fold and has a much more sporty look: with a carbon fiber body, huge 180mm/160mm hydraulic disc brakes and a SR Suntour fork, it looks like a slightly bulkier mountain bike.

It weighs 46.3 pounds, which one of the project’s founders Marko Matenda calls the ideal weight. “It provides for a great motor and a hefty-enough battery, but it’s light enough that you can carry it up a flight of stairs,” he says.

While we could manage a couple of floors, be warned: 46 pounds is much heavier than a regular mountain bike and carrying the Visiobike any higher than a few stairs might be an issue for some users. 20140604135802-VB_features_manje

For comparison, the aforementioned Gi bike weighs 37.4 pounds, while Rimac Automobili’s Greyp G 12 e-bike — also a Croatian project — weighs 108 pounds, but it makes up for the extra weight with a lot of power, top speed being 40 mph.

Visiobike is available with two different motors, one providing 250W and the other 500W of power, with top speed being either 15.5 mph or 31.1 mph. However, it’s not a bike that drives itself; instead, it’s a pedelec, meaning the motor merely assists you when you need power.

You simply hop on the bike and start pedaling as you would with a standard bike. Start climbing up a hill, and it will feel pretty much the same, as the bike’s motor supplies the extra power. We’ve tried the Visiobike with an automatic transmission, meaning you don’t have to worry about gears — you merely set how much help you want to get from the motor and start riding.

The lithium-ion, 14.5Ah battery lasts for around 62 miles, after which you’ll need to plug the bike into a regular outlet and recharge it for three hours.

With all these options and variants, saying how much the Visiobike costs is not that simple. The basic version with the weaker motor costs $5,318, while the best possible variant (automatic transmission and the rear camera included) will set you back $6,749.

Matenda tells us the company is looking into launching a variant with a cheaper, aluminum frame down the road. “We’ll try to bring the price down, but we’re starting with the premium model. We want the experience with the Visiobike to be amazing.”

Source: Mashable

Samsung Planning Android Mobile Apps For Astronauts And Space Tourists

Samsung is collaborating with aerospace firm Boeing to incorporate mobile apps into the CST-100 spaceship.

The spacecraft is being developed by Boeing as part of NASA’s commercial crew program with an aim to use it as a transport for astronauts heading to the International Space Station.

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Boeing said that it wants to employ mobile technology to aid astronauts to share their experiences and Boeing researchers have already chosen six apps that could be used during space flight, as reported by Space.com.

The app software, some of which already employed on the space station, could potentially be used on the Android operating system.

An app called World Map is already used to let astronauts know when the spce station flies over a particular part of the world.

Former astronaut Chris Ferguson, director of crew and mission operations for the Boeing Commercial Crew Program, said: “Those geopolitical lines aren’t necessarily carved on the Earth.”

Speaking at the 2014 National Space Symposium, Ferguson said: “You have to rely sometimes on a tool to tell you where you are, and there’s a great application on the space station called World Map that we would like to bring over to an Android platform. That’s an example of how a NASA astronaut would use it.”

The app research also holds future uses for space tourism, such as photography apps and a Wi-Fi tool that can send photos back to Earth.

Boeing is going head to head with competing spaceflight firms such as SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corp to win a contract to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes to have transport operating by 2017, following the ending of the space shuttle program in 2011.

Source: CBR Online

Audi expected to announce new partnership with Google at CES 2014

At CES 2014 next week, Audi is expected to announce a new partnership with Google to use Android software in its infotainment systems.

 

Audi currently integrates Google Earth into its navigation system, and is rumored to be working on Android adoption.

 In past years, Audi has used CES to show off its high-tech development, from the first look at the new dashboard and infotainment system for the Audi A3 to last year’s display of components designed to enable autonomous vehicles. Although Audi issued a press release about the new Laserlight concept car it will unveil during CES this year, the expected Android announcement will probably not be accompanied by a live demonstration.

Audi’s current partnership with Google integrates Google Earth satellite imagery and Street View into Audi navigation systems. And while Audi’s current infotainment software is mature and well-developed, the company lacks much in the way of branded app integration.

Adopting an Android OS in the dashboard would make app integration easier.

This version of Android would likely bear little resemblance to that found on phones and tablets, as Audi would need to keep tight control over which apps could be installed to avoid liability issues. Likewise, Audi would want to make sure any apps installed in the car meet quality requirements.

 

Audi would probably not swap its interface controller for a touch screen with the adoption of Android.

It is also quite possible that the actual interface would not change from what’s in current Audi vehicles. Audi has spent a lot of effort developing its Multimedia Interface controller and associated touch pad. Audi’s cabin design would not be conducive to a touch-screen interface.

None of this development signals better or worse integration with the type of phone a driver brings into the vehicle. Audi will want to remain agnostic toward a driver’s preferred phone.

Much of Audi’s infotainment development occurs at the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory near San Francisco, which enables close cooperation with Google. Current Audi models include a dedicated mobile data connection, used for Google Earth imagery and other connected information sources. Audi announced during last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show that it would build 4G/LTE connectivity into the new A3 model.

Any Audi vehicle using the new Android system will probably not being hitting the road for more than a year. The A3 is Audi’s biggest new launch in the US, and it uses software already developed and proven. The A4 is due for an update, but development on that model must be well under way by now. The larger models, the A6, A7, and A8, would likely better coincide with a major infotainment software update in 2015.

Source: CNET

Vodafone set for own-brand 4G smartphone launch

Vodafone Group appears to be planning an own-brand 4G smartphone, with the device having recently passed through the approvals process with the US Federal Communications Commission.

According to documents cited by Engadget, the device is a rebadged Coolpad 8860U from Chinese vendor Yulong – one of the top three smartphone vendors in its home market.

The Android device has triband LTE support (800, 1800, 2600MHz) alongside 2G and 3G connectivity.

What is not immediately clear is the target market for the device: Vodafone’s own-brand devices have traditionally been aimed at cost-conscious customers, while its 4G connectivity plans target higher-spending customers (its cheapest UK SIM-only offer is £26 per month).

With LTE still in its infancy in the UK, and Vodafone’s rivals continuing with their positioning of it as a premium service, there seems to be little incentive for the company to push 4G adoption further into the mass market.

Source: Steve Costello. Mobile World Live

Jaguar Land Rover Announces New Era of In-Vehicle Smartphone App Connectivity

 
Jaguar Land Rover Logo

    Jaguar InControl™ Apps and Land Rover InControl™ Apps to deliver integrated in-vehicle app connectivity for both Android and Apple smartphones
  • Technology developed in partnership with BOSCH SoftTec
  • System will be upgradeable as new apps become available
  • Available in new Jaguar and Land Rover models progressively from 2014

Whitley, UK – Jaguar Land Rover is pleased to announce Jaguar InControl™ Apps and Land Rover InControl™ Apps, new smartphone integration platforms that will launch a new era of in-vehicle app connectivity. InControl™ Apps will be introduced in new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles from 2014.

The company has worked with BOSCH SoftTec to develop a class-leading product that will allow Jaguar and Land Rover customers to interact with compatible applications installed on their smartphone. A defining advantage of the platform is that it is compatible with both Android and Apple devices via the innovative in-vehicle touch screens featured in the latest Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Jaguar Land Rover and BOSCH SoftTec have been working closely with some of the world’s leading application developers to deliver apps that are perfectly tailored for in-vehicle use, but which retain essential features and functions that make them familiar and intuitive for customers to use.

Customers will simply need to download the appropriate Jaguar or Land Rover application from the Apple App Store or Google Play store. This will enable a connection to be made with the vehicle and allow access to apps that are compatible with the Jaguar InControl™ Apps or Land Rover InControl™ Apps platform. Another benefit of the Jaguar Land Rover system is that customers will be able to upgrade with ease whenever new apps become available, or those that they have installed gain new features or functions.

Details of the application support framework that will support the new platform will be announced later.

Nick Gionis, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Engineer Infotainment, said: “We are giving customers the opportunity to enjoy the great benefits of accessing their favourite apps while in their vehicle, whether it’s to plan a better journey, keep up to date with business, enjoy the best entertainment or monitor their social media channels.

“Through our work with BOSCH SoftTec we have ensured that Jaguar InControl™ Apps and Land Rover InControl™ Apps are designed to work with equal functionality with both Android and Apple smartphones, which means no compromise for the customer.

“With the benefit of this comprehensive approach, we are now looking forward to working further with the world’s leading app developers to ensure a fantastic range of products are available when the platform begins its roll-out next year.”

Source: Jaguar Land Rover

Parrot and Cinemo to jointly develop connected car solutions

Cinemo, developers of embedded multimedia technologies for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), and Parrot, a supplier of automotive connectivity and infotainment solutions, have entered into an agreement where Parrot will be utilizing Cinemo’s Unified Media Player in selected IVI systems including Head Units and Rear Seat Entertainment Units.

The result of this collaboration will first be embedded in an automotive Rear Seat Entertainment solution based on the Android framework. It will offer passengers up to Full HD video from DVD, HDMI, MHL, USB, Wi-Fi connected media sources and Smart phones. These videos can be accessed and shared with any embedded display or tablet inside the vehicle with perfect, echo-free, lip synchronization on multiple devices over the car network.

The Parrot system will also enable users to play games, browse the Internet, access a wide range of Apps by connecting to the Parrot Asteroid Market, view documents, and much more. Passengers will be able to control the units with their portable devices for media browsing, advanced gaming or navigation.

Cinemo’s Unified Media Player consisting of Cinemo Media Engine, Cinemo Media Management Engine, Distributed Playback and Distributed Media Management will all be part of Parrot’s multimedia offering, enabling “content anywhere anytime” and guaranteeing the highest level of performance, quality and robustness.

Designed to allow near instantaneous access to all media content available in the car, Parrot’s integration of Cinemo Media Management Engine features multi-pass content indexing, ultra-fast searches, support of complex queries, smart synchronization, Unicode collation, alphabetical index generation, priority queues, video thumbnail creation, dynamic on-demand searches, a seamless approach between local and connected database access, and further significantly intelligent algorithms and extensive optimizations which truly revolutionize the way and speed IVI digital media can be controlled.

Source: Cinemo/Telematics News