What’s New In Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Along with a the new Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, Google also unveiled the latest version of Jelly Bean – Android 4.2. Yes, Google decided to stick with the same name so as to avoid confusion and because the new release does not bring any major changes to warrant a whole new name. So, what exactly is new in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? Read below to find out.

Photo Sphere

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced panorama mode to the stock camera app. Apple did the same with iOS6 and the iPhone 5, except that in iOS6 users could take panorama photos in portrait mode as well. With Android 4.2, Google has brought its amazing Street view technology to Android devices. Photo Sphere will allow Android 4.2 running devices to click photos of multiple axis and then stitch them into one, to form one single 360 degree image. The best part about the Photo Sphere images is that they are taken in the full 8MP resolution of the camera, and not downscaled to a lower resolution.

Below is a video of Photo Sphere in action on the Nexus 4 -:

Gesture Typing

Google has been constantly tweaking the stock Android keyboard with each and every Android OS release. While Android 2.3 and Android 4.0 brought about a major re-vamp in the looks and minor layout changes, Android 4.1.1 brought SwiftKey like next-word prediction system. With Android 4.2, Google is bringing Gesture Typing to the stock Android keyboard. Think of Gesture Typing as Swype – Just glide your fingers over letters you want to type and only lift them at the end of each word. With Gesture typing and the keyboard’s ability to predict the next word a user is going to type, Jelly Bean makes typing a breeze rather than a chore.

Multiple User Profiles

With Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google is bringing multiple user profiles to Android tablets. This will allow users to easily share their tablets with their family members without worrying about their saved games progress or other private data. This feature is only for tablets, but I am pretty sure it is just a matter of time before custom ROM developers bring this feature to Android phones as well.

Daydream

While I first got excited hearing about Daydream, the feature is relatively useless. Daydream will allow your Android device to show either updates from Google Current or say a photo stream while your device is docked or idle.

Lockscreen Widgets

Finally! With Android 4.2, Google has finally made the lockscreen infinitely more useful thanks to widgets. At the moment there is not much known about how lockscreen widgets, except that they can be accessed by swiping right or left across the lockscreen. However, The Verge does have a video which shows the lockscreen in action for a short amount of time.

Miracast Wireless Display Support

Android finally gets an Airplay competitor with Miracast Wireless Display support. Even though Miracast is a relatively new technology, it should become a frequent feature in TVs by next year. If your current TV does not feature Miracast, you can add it by using an after-market dongle.

Notification Quick Controls

With Android 4.2, Google has finally provided users with quick access to toggling certain settings such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and more. This feature is something which every Android OEM has added to stock Android via their skin, and considering its usefulness, the amount of time that Google took to implement it is just mind boggling. Users can access the notification toggles by pressing a button on the notification bar. Alternatively, they can swipe down the notification bar using two fingers to directly access the toggles.

Below is a video showing the quick controls in action -:

New Clock App

The current Clock app in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is nothing short of ancient. It lacks all basic features like a stop watch and timer which in 2012 is nothing short of shameful. Thankfully, with Android 4.2, Google has completely over-hauled the Clock app and added new features to it including World Clock along with stop watch and timer.

Google Now

With Android 4.2, Google has made Google Now smarter. It can now directly read and display flight confirmations, hotel reservations, shipping details, movie times, nearby attractions and more. Google Voice Search, which is an integral part of Google Now, is also more powerful now allowing users to directly launch apps or schedule calendar appointments.

Since Google Now is not a part of the core Android OS, the update is already available to all Jelly Bean running devices via the Play Store.

New Linux Kernel

With Android 4.2, Google has updated the stock Android kernel to be based on the Linux 3.4 kernel. The new kernel improves memory utilization, security and more. From what I have read, the Linux kernel 3.4 should also allow Android OEMS to easily port the latest version of the Android OS to their devices. It will also allow Google to keep the Android kernel version in sync with the mainline linux kernel.

How Nokia Beat Apple In Mind Games

When Nokia introduced the Lumia 920 the general consensus was, it’s a good phone but Apple’s iPhone 5 will be the best phone. There will be pigs flying over Mascone when it is revealed. Of course that didn’t happen. The iPhone 5 was underwhelming. The real show stealer yesterday was the new iPod Touch. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the iPhone isn’t innovative; what we saw yesterday was design innovation, not innovation same as iPhone 1. iOS6 isn’t bringing anything new either. As a result, the overall consensus yesterday was that the iPhone 5 is good looking powerful device, it will sell millions but isn’t revolutionary. As Mat Honan puts it, “It is amazing and utterly boring.”

Compare this to Nokia, the company announced a new camera setup, wireless charging and NFC capabilities. The introduction of wireless charging and NFC have generated excitement, while you can rubbish them as gimmicks, wireless charging makes a lot of sense to me. I come home and place the phone next to my PC, and guess what?! The phone isn’t connected to a wire!  The charger is connected to a power source, but my phone isn’t. The phone charging cable just vanished as far as I am concerned.

Nokia made an impression.

The other key announcement Nokia made was around NFC. TO understand this, we need to look at Nokia’s NFC accessories, so far just personal audio equipment. Nokia believes NFC helps you get rid of the cumbersome setup of Bluetooth pairing or WiFi sharing. And guess what?! You don’t have to buy a dock adapter for your phone!

Not new, ergo not innovative, but then Nokia has a concept of wireless charging. Put these together and you have innovation that the end consumer can feel while using the technology in a way where technology is seamless.

Nokia again makes an impression.

The third is specs. Now many say specs don’t matter and that the phone’s experience is what matters. Well, guess what?! So far the general consensus is that the Windows Phone experience is very good! Couple this with no hardware advantage that Apple has with the iPhone 5 & features shown in Windows Phone 8, Nokia has made an impression.

Let’s talk about the now infamous Lumia 920 camera. In the tech circles, Nokia is being mocked for fudging PureView photographs but to the end user  PureView as a brand makes an impression. And while we are on the topic of innovation and winter is coming, being able to use a touch screen phone with gloves on–getting that right, is innovation. On those living in the colder regions, like Central New York, Nokia made an impression.

In a mind game of making an impression, Nokia just beat Apple.

PS: Google Now on Android is far more useful than Siri.

2012 Sony Walkman Line Announced, Some Run Android 4.0

2012 Walkman Series Announced

Yesterday, Sony unveiled two new media players in their ‘Walkman’ line. The Walkman line of MP3 players has been due for an update for quite some time so these upgrades are definitely welcomed by diehard Android and Sony fans who are looking for a new media player. Sony has updated both their high-end and low-end media players.

The Walkman F800 is an interesting new iPod Touch competitor which runs on the Android 4.0 operating system and can run a ton of different apps from Google Play. The player also offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity all packed into a slim package with a 3.5″ touchscreen. The F800 is currently available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB variants starting at $279.

As far as the lower end Walkmans go, Sony updated the Walkman E474 by adding a larger screen and more colors to the lineup. Other than that, the E747 is pretty barebones as it runs a proprietary operating system and is not touch based. The E747 will run you roughly $80 and can be purchased with an optional speaker dock. If you like the E747 but want Bluetooth capabilities, Sony has you covered. Sony also announced Walkman S770BT which is essentially the same as the E747 but adds Bluetooth capabilities.

Source: Engadget

Stereomood is an emotion-driven internet radio

The starting page of Stereomood has this well-acknowledged quote:

behind every song there’s always an emotion. we don’t know why but maybe that’s why we love music. [sic]

This is why music is music. There are no hard-bound rules regarding the kind of emotions it will trigger in our minds. From rock n’ roll to trance and from pop to hip-hop, every little nuance and melancholic harmonic plays little chords in our heads, leading us to places we have never been before, or guide us to our destination. Stereomood is for the adventurous listeners who would like to go places instead of the same old songs on and on again. It is part music discovery and part radio and will be loved by anyone who is not in the mood to listen to their favorite bands, but instead is in the mood to listen to songs that resonate with their emotions.

Stereomood

All of the songs in the database are user-submitted/uploaded and registering for an account on this website allows you to maintain your library of favorite songs and upload your own songs.

Stereomoodepic

The player is artsy and simple, with the requisite play/pause, stop, next, previous buttons, a seeker and a one-click option to submit this song to half a dozen websites. You also have the option of buying this song from iTunes or Amazon as well as tag it, add it to the library, send it via mail to a friend and shuffle the tracks (of course).

In all, this is a very very simple website simply existing for the sake of letting people hear great music. I’ve recommended this site to quite a few of my friends, and for all of you music-lovers who want great new music and do not want to pay for the $3/month subscription of last.fm, this is a great (albeit in less quanitity) alternative!

Search For Music Videos, MP3s and Lyrics Using Museeca

There are websites to search for music videos, websites to search for lyrics and even websites to search for MP3s. However, there are very few websites that allow you to search for all of these.

Museeca is a search engine solely dedicated to music. You can use Museeca to find MP3,music videos, Ringtones, Lyrics and even guitar tabs. The underlying search engine is Google so the results are pretty fast and accurate. For example, searching for an Mp3 of Fireflies would display a number of MP3 sites where you can listen to and download the song.

You can search for a song by artist, song or album name. While searching for a ringtone, you can narrow your search down to MP3 Ringtones, iPhone Ringtones or Polyphonic Ringtones.

Want to see which chords were used in a particular song? Another unique option that Museeca offers is to search for Guitar tabs. It searches popular guitar sites including Ultimate-Guitar and GuitarTab.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Museeca is an excellent resource to search for music and music related information. When you enter a query in Museeca, it searches Google for you but filters out all the noise and only gives you the results containing actual media.

Rating: 4/5

Listen to Internet Radio on Your Desktop using AirFM

Music is one of the most soothing hobbies I have had for a very long time. I make it a point to always carry some form of music player or radio player with me whenever I travel. Most portable devices make it easy to listen to radio while on the go, however listening to radio on the desktop can be a bit difficult.

Of course there are several websites where you can listen to internet radio online, however, having a desktop tool would be good too.

airfm_radio_player_channels

AirFM is a based application which will allow you to listen to internet radio stations on your desktop. You can choose from a list of pre-defined radio stations and play any of them for free.

airfm_currently_playing

You can also add the radio stations to your favorite list and access them easily. You can also skip songs and play the next in queue by using the control buttons.

Techie Buzz Verdict

AirFM is a excellent lightweight internet radio player with a minimal interface. There are more than 200+ stations to choose from, however, the developer claims that users can add their own stations, but I did not find an option to do that.

It would be even more better, if the option to add custom radio stations would be available to users.

Ratings: 3/5 (Good)

Download AirFM

Stream Music Online With Vibe Streamer

If you were looking for a good program to stream your music files online then we have something exiting for all of you. Now you can create your own music station and stream your MP3 files online with the help of Vibe Streamer. Vibe Streamer is a free MP3 streaming server that allows you to connect and stream your music using a standard web browser. It means that your friends can listen all of your songs right inside their browser.

The installation and setup of the program is too simple. This program can be easily configured with any router. It even protects your large collection of music files from unknown users with the help of user accounts and groups. You can even create your own customized skin or you can download skins from their website.

Vibe Streamer

Features

  • Free music streaming server.
  • Easy installation and configuration.
  • Share unlimited files and directories.
  • Full support for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7.
  • Full support for Linux through Wine.
  • Protect your directories with user accounts and groups.
  • Easily manage your users, groups and their access rights.
  • Well designed web client that supports large collections of music files.
  • Last.fm audio scrobbling integration.
  • UPnP support for simple router configuration.
  • Create your own skins or download new skins as they appear on our website.
  • It includes standard skin support for most commonly used browsers.

Currently it supports only MP3 files. It works on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and even on Linux through Wine. I would recommend this program to everyone looking for a free MP3 streaming software on the Internet.

[ Download Vibe Streamer ]

Export iTunes MP3 Songs and Albums

iTunes is definitely not one of my favorite music players, and thanks to Keshav who showed me how to use a barebones player and convert Foobar2000 into a super music player, I have been using it more and more.

Of course if you have a iPod or iPhone you do require iTunes to transfer and manage music. But there are iTunes alternatives like Floola and iPhone PC Suite.

itunes_exporter

If you do not want to use a alternative but just want to export MP3 songs and albums for iTunes, iHandler a based application can definitely come in handy.

The software will basically allow you to load a iTunes Library and export the songs and albums and allow you to store it in another folder so that you can use it with other music players.

iHandler is based on Adobe Air so it can run on both Windows and Mac.

Download iHandler [via BlogsDNA]

How to Embed Album Art In MP3 Files

Album Art If you are an audiophile and anything like me, you probably have got loads of music stacked up inside folders and folders. Managing a large collection of music can be a bit of a task sometimes, but with the help of some useful tools it can be made much easier.

Album Art is one thing that makes browsing your music library a lot more easier and fun. The graphic draws your attention towards the band or artist and forms a virtual connection that links your music taste with it. However, it’s not necessary that all your music would have embedded album art information. Probably, some of your music came from CDs, some from friends, a fraction from online stores and maybe, a larger fraction from, well, The Pirate Bay for instance.

Difference between external and embedded album art:

Album Art can either be external or embedded into the file, in the ID3v2 Tags. The ID3v2 tagging standard allows any kind of image to be embedded into the audio file. JPEG or PNG files can be embedded, but JPEG has been the norm. The difference between embedded information and external information is as simple as it sounds. When you embed something (an image file in this case) into the audio file, the size of the audio file increases relatively. Although external information does not increase the size of the file, the major drawback that it creates is unportability of the information. If one media player recognizes external Album Art, your media centre might not recognize. Plus, external files also increase clutter.

How to Embed Album Art into MP3 Files?

What we’ll need:

  1. Mp3tag Mp3tag is an advanced ID3 tag editor that also lets you edit embeddable information, like Album Art.
  2. The Album Art graphic file: You’ll of course need the graphic file that you wish to embed as album art. The recommended dimensions are 200×200 or 300×300. You can try searching for Album art on Google Image Search or Wikipedia. You can also you use a software like Album Art Downloader that will fetch you the Album Art for the specified Album from various sources like Last.fm, Amazon, various online music databases etc.

Here we go:

1. Open Mp3Tag, go to File > Change Directory (Ctrl+D). Select the directory of your Album or where your music files are located. Similarly, you can drag-n-drop the files you wish to edit and embed Album Art.

2. Select all the files with the mouse pointer or press CTRL+A. Right click on the selected files and chose Extended Tags.

greenshot_2009-08-22_00-57-09

3. A dialog box will open that lists all the extended tags of the files selected. On the right, you’ll see a box where you can select the Album Artwork. Click the Add Cover Button on the right (which has a star on it), browse and select the image file you’ve downloaded and chosen to embed as artwork and click open. Then click Ok.

greenshot_2009-08-22_01-01-17

4. Voila! Your selected music has been updated with the Album Art of your choice.

Mp3Tag is quite a powerful tagging software. You can use it to edit other meta information in your music collection and wash out the mistakes in the tags. incidentally, you can also extract artwork from mp3 files, by clicking on the save’ button.

Well, I think that solves it. Have an organized and lively experience with your music! :)

Image courtesy: tupton

Search & Download Best MP3 Online

If you have not yet taken advantage of the MP3 search engines we had told you about, here is another way to search and download the best MP3 files online.

All the best MP3s is a new service that will allow you to find the best songs and albums you want easily and let you browse them and download them in seconds.

all_the_best_mp3

The service also lets you browse the top music from different World music charts, along with providing a neat interface to browse the latest and top downloaded MP3 files.

The MP3 search is very good and shows results pretty fast. Overall a pretty good service for finding and downloading music online.

Abmp3.com

Please note: Downloading MP3 files may be illegal in some countries, please check your local copyright laws before downloading them.