Developer Preview 2 of Android N Released By Google

Last month, Google made a developer preview version of the upcoming version of their popular mobile operating system, named Android N, available for public download. This release included a number of great new features including split screen functionality and more. Now, a second version of the Android N developer preview has been released for use, which should come as a welcome update for current users of the developer preview as it includes a number of major bug fixes as well as some new functionality too.

Some of the bugs that are addressed in this updated developer preview address issues such as connecting to hidden Wi-Fi networks, pauses during multi window function and over 50 issues that had been reported through the public issue tracker. This doesn’t mean that Android N is ready for everyday use, though, and Google stresses that this is still an unstable preview build meant to allow developers and testers a chance to try out and help improve Android.

On the new features front, this build includes new support for the Vulkan 3D graphics API, launcher shortcuts defined by apps and support for Emoji Unicode 9 support. The addition of Vulkan is aimed entirely at developers and will assist in the development of games and 3D graphics heavy applications while also allowing them to be well optimized for low resource use and battery drain. Launcher shortcuts could make commonly used features in apps even easier to access, giving developers the ability to allow launcher shortcuts to point to a specific point in the app, such as messaging a friend or setting a route to home in a navigation app. Emoji support speaks for itself, but Google is moving away from the generic emoji used in previous Android versions in favour of more human looking designs.

Overall, this update should be a must-have for those already using the previous Android N developer preview, but there aren’t enough new features added in order to give a good reason for more people to adopt it unless some of the existing bugs were their main hang-up. As with the existing preview, this version can be gotten through the Android Beta Program on supported Nexus devices or flash their device manually.

12-Year-Old Girl Facing Criminal Charges Over Emoji Use

A 12-year-old girl from Fairfax, Virginia, USA has been charged with threatening to commit an attack against her school in a post on Instagram, The Washington Post reports. The offending message in question contained no direct threats, nor any verbal intent that the girl meant harm against her school or anyone within it. However, the content of her message, included particular ideograms that have been interpreted by police as demonstrating intent to harm others.

Her message read:

Killing ?

“meet me in the library Tuesday”

? ? ?

The use of a gun, knife, and bomb emojis in a message regarding her school’s library were deemed enough by Fairfax police to charge the girl with a criminal offence, after staff at Sidne Lanier Middle School were made aware of its content on 14th December, 2015. Due to her age, the police and courts has not released the identity of the girl.

“She’s a good kid. She’s never been in trouble before,” the girl’s mother said. “I don’t think it’s a case where there should have been charges.”

“I think something is definitely lost in translation,” defense attorney Pratt said, referring to the police misinterpreting the use of emojis by teens. “These kids are not threatening cops, they are just trying to say, ‘I’m tough.’ It’s posturing.”

“Emoji are new enough that people are finding their footing,” Tyler Schnoebelen, a linguist and founder of a company called Idibon, added. “Almost all of these cases have emerged in the past couple years. They are all going into fresh legal territory.”

Dalia Topelson Ritvo, Assistant Director of the Cyber Law clinic at Harvard Law School, thinks that the semantics of emojis are even more fluid and dependant on context and intent than words.

“You understand words in a particular way,” Ritvo said. “It’s challenging with symbols and images to unravel that.”

Despite the charges filed against the girl, a spokesperson for Fairfax County schools has called the alleged threat “not credible”.

This Emoji Keyboard Will Set You Back $100!

Emojis have quickly become the latest method for many people to communicate online and express emotion. Previously, people opted for text-based solutions which resembled a number of human responses. Up to this point, Emojis required a mobile touch interface to implement various icons during conversations on social media. This makes sense given most conversations rely on text and contains an emoji at the end to express emotion. EmojiWorks decided to create a traditional wireless keyboard which utilizes a emoji modifier.

Once the emoji key is pressed, the letters transform into emojis and allows for quick typing. I’m not entirely sure how useful this is, but it might be suitable for someone out there. In terms of pricing, the basic 47-emoji model will cost $80, the 94-emoji Plus has a retail price of $90 and the flagship 120-emoji Pro is set to cost $100.

There’s no current shipping date, but the manufacturer has taken pre-orders which will ship “no sooner than December 1st”. I’m almost speechless about this invention and I’m clearly not the target demographic. Perhaps, certain people use emojis quite often, and feel the need to end every sentence with at least one or two. Although, I’m not one to judge, and if it’s useful to someone, then it has a place in the current market.

Facebook Research Reveals “LOL” is in Decline

Facebook has conducted a research paper on the communication behaviour of its users and language used to express laughter. The data was collected during the last week of May and analyzed any prominent string of characters matching laughter. Interestingly, “haha” was the most popular response with 51.4%, followed by an Emoji which users said 33.7% during the testing period. The term, “lol” has almost become obsolete and only attributes for 1.9% of discussions. This is quite surprising because “lol” was once the automatic response to convey laughter and I thought it was still used by a large demographic.It seems “lol” is predominately used by people in their late 20s who grew up with this terminology. The age chart includes figures for the median (dashed line), 25th and 75th percentiles. In direct contrast, Emojis are extremely popular with the under 25s and a new means to communicate online. Although, the research doesn’t specifically state how e-language type doesn’t always relate to comedy. Often, these terms are used as a verbal filler to continue a conversation or put the other participant at ease. From a linguistic standpoint, this is why so many people use wordings like “haha” after mundane sentences to denote a sense of familiarity.       As someone who grew up with virtually everyone using “lol”, this proves how language dramatically changes over time. While it makes me feel rather old, I will stick to my style of communication, as habits are very difficult to change.

Do you use any of these terms online?

Here Is the Truth About WhatsApp’s Middle Finger and Vulcan Salute Emojis

There’s been a lot of talks about some middle finger and Vulcan salute emojis previously found in the desktop version of WhatsApp. Metro found the emojis packed away in WhatsApp’s bundled files, but thought they were a secret.

However, The Next Web explained that they are not actually secret emojis, but something that has yet to be added as usable emojis. Yes, the actual truth is that we are going to get a middle finger emoji in the near future, but it seems that it will not be restricted to WhatsApp.

According to The Next Web, both emojis have been approved in Unicode 7 and might be included in Windows 10. With a little bit of time and luck, we might even see them embedded as native emojis on mobile, namely on iOS and Android.

So yeah, if you wanted to salute in a cool geeky way or have someone in your WhatsApp list who you were dying to send something like this, you won’t have to wait long. In the meantime, you can just send a picture instead. So what do you think? Are the latter emojis something you are looking forward to or think we need? Let us know!

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Sony Pictures Animation to Produce Emoji Film

Sony Pictures Animation has successfully outbid two major Hollywood studios to win the commercial rights to produce an animated movie based on Emojis. According to Deadline, the project will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis with the latter also opting for a director’s role. Sony believes they can capture the silly, social essence of Emoji icons and make a family-friendly comedy. I’m not entirely sure how this is possible considering each Emoji represents an emotion. Surely for each character to have any emotional resonance, they have to change into another Emoji.

Despite being a completely absurd concept, it could become a runaway success as Emojis are more ingrained into popular culture. Personally, I’ve seen children sporting Emoji soft toys so there’s no reason why the film shouldn’t be a financially prudent endeavor. It does seem bizarre though and I’m guessing a lot of people will think this is an idiotic move. However, I never saw the appeal of other cult hits such as the Angry Bird franchise. Similarly, Flappy Bird, an absolutely terrible game became a surprise success and made the developer an obscene amount of money.

I do wonder the age bracket for people using Emojis on a regular basis. It’s probably much older than we think because emotions are deemed as verbal fillers and integrated into modern communication. How often do you use emotions or Emojis?

Thank you Deadline for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

4Chan Anon Developing Emoji Programming Language

Emojis, a collection of ideagrams born out a unique brand of shorthand born out of the electronic communications, has fast become the universal language of the internet, so was only a matter of time before the character set was implemented as one of tech’s sub-languages, programming code.

A resourceful member (as much as one can be a member) of 4Chan has developed a coding language using emojis. Dubbed FourMan (or ), the language is still in embryonic form, but it currently exists as a token list, sample code, a C++-based lexer, and an emoji reader. It is described on its GitHub page as:

FourMan is an easy-to-use programming language made entirely of emojis.

FourMan aims to create a clear, understandable, and powerful programming language.

FourMan is for both beginner and expert programmers.

FourMan makes use of emojis to create a universally understandable syntax.

Beginner programmer, ready for a first language? Novice programmer, want another language under your belt? Expert programmer, looking for something a little more powerful? Give FourMan a shot!

Later iterations of the code will add a compiler and what is described as “awesome libraries”, while adding an IDE app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and IDE, keymapping software, custom keycaps, and custom keyboards for desktops.

FourMan is currently available for download from GitHub.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Sonder Customisable Keyboard Changes the Display of the Keys

The most used input device of a modern-day computer is the keyboard. Most of you out there use it on a daily basis and have become quite proficient with the QWERTY layout. Or maybe you prefer the Dvorak keyboard layout. This yet to be released keyboard from Sonder lets you customise your layout yourself. This includes not just letters, but emoji, shortcuts, icons for anything you want.

Customisable things are great, it means you can get them just the way that you want them. This is true for keyboards especially. Customising keyboard keys is usually having some dedicated macro keys that you can record your own key strokes and replay them whenever you want. This works fine, but most keyboards of this ilk are large and ungainly. This is where Sonder step in. 50 of its 78 keys are fully customisable, I don’t mean just what they do, but the way they look. The device is home to an e-ink screen which expands across all of the 50 customisable transparent keys.

This falls right in the ballpark of adolescent girls that only communicate with emoji. Each key could actually show the emoji on the key itself. However, this is a bit of a niche market, so what else could this be used for.

Well, imagine the myriad of short-cut combinations that programs like Photoshop use. You could switch the layout of the keyboard to display dedicated keys for all of your most used tools so you no longer have to remember every combination for every tool.

Now you have finished your day of productivity, you want to relax with a bit of gaming. Well, switch the keyboard over to display the controls for your favourite shooter. Instead of remembering your pistol is bound to the ‘3’ key, you can have a little picture of your weapon on the actual key.

Even though all these pictures show the command key of the Mac, the developers have said that they are working on a Windows version. This keyboard isn’t available yet, but you can pre-order one for $199 from the official website. The price if you don’t pre-order will be $299 upon release. The developers are planning to set up a Kickstarter campaign later this year to fund the project. It is unclear if the developers have the ability or money to put this into full production without the Kickstarter, so it may be beneficial to hold off on the pre-orders until more details are known.

‘Tweet-A-Pizza’ Coming to Domino’s This Month

Do you fancy Domino’s pizza and use Twitter on a regular basis? Then you will be happy to hear that the company is looking into techy ways of attracting customers and will add a ‘tweet-a-pizza’ system starting from May 20th in the US.

What all of this means is that users who have a Twitter account will be able to order a pizza just by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. This will place Domino’s ahead of all other major restaurant industry companies just by adding a way for customers to order their pizza through social media.

However, the decision was no taken on a whim. Statistics show that the company already has more than 50% of its sales taking place digitally, so it was only logical to add such a feature and make it the next big thing. Through this move, Domino’s is likely to take advantage of the publicity and boldness to further increase its sales in the following months.

Twitter has a lot to gain from this as well. Other companies are already using the “Buy Now” service on tweets to promote and sell their products and Twitter can only benefit from all of this by offering their users a way to buy stuff in their social media environment, while also making more profit out of it.

While Domino’s looks to be expanding its technology and offering more purchase options to customers, we are likely to see more companies take the same approach in the near future. Domino’s also mentions that it is already looking into expanding the purchase option to Facebook and Instagram in the future. So what do you think? Would you ‘tweet-a-pizza’ from Domino’s?

Thank you USA Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

Android Wear Gets Major Update

The Apple watch seems to be getting all the attention recently, however Google announced today a major update to their Android Wear operating system. We’re glad to say it includes some pretty interesting features.

One of the first changes Google has made to their wrist bound OS is the extension of always on watch faces to now include applications. You will no longer have to shake, tap or shout at your watch to get the screen to light up. Google show a few use cases for this on their news blog, they were uses such as a map face and a to do list. To prevent applications from eating up your devices battery life, the screen changes ito black and white mode when the device senses that it is not in a viewable position.

Secondly the update brings the ability to connect to wireless networks independently of an android device or tablet. This means that if your Android wear device has built-in WiFi then you will be able to receive notifications, send messages and download more apps without needing your phone nearby. However, the phone must have a data connection of some kind for the Android wear device to control it. You can even find your phone by asking your watch!

Google have also changed the way you can activate the watch face to use the device. They have added a feature that allows you to flick your wrist to scroll down the stream of news and notifications; that’s really useful if you have your hands full.

Finally, the companies last major change is the addition being able to draw an emoji on to the watch screen; similar to the Android handwriting app Google released a couple of days ago. If you’re too busy to write a message then you can squiggle an emoji on the interface and then send it as a hangouts or text message.

The update will be released over the next few weeks according to google.

Thank you to Techreport for this information

Images courtesy of The Google Blog

Facebook Bans ‘Feeling Fat’?

Facebook users know that you can post a vast number of activities on your timeline, from what you are doing, like watching a certain movie, to how you are feeling at a moment in time. But have you ever wanted to post that you are feeling a bit ‘fat-ish’ after a big meal?

Well, whether you were aware of the ‘feeling fat’ emoji or not, Facebook has recently banned it after a number of complaints. It is said that the rosy-cheeked, double-chinned emoticon got banned after activists started a petition against it for its negative impact it might have for those struggling with eating disorders and general issues regarding body weight.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Emoji Is Coming to Chrome on OS X

Google’s Chrome is very popular browser among users of Apple’s OS X. However, in this age of Social Media, the browser has had one very notable omission – emoji.

Yes, it’s amazing to think that any browser is without the popular snippets of emotion littered across the web. Finally though, it seems that Google is bringing the cherubic characters to their OS X flavour of Chrome.

The Next Web reports that users of the latest developer builds of Chrome have found emoji now works. Mac users can now use them for themselves by running Google’s Chrome Canary, the special testing version of the browser.

The characters should be included in stable builds in the coming weeks.

Source: The Next Web

Emoji-Only Social App Coming Soon – Human Intelligence Doomed

 

This is it, mankind’s final frontier into destroying its greatest achievement, words. I personally do not like this idea of an Emoji-only social app but over 10,000 people have already signed up for their Emoji-only usernames for the social media app which in a trailer (below) says it’s coming “very soon.”

People got the chance to ask the developers, Matt Gray and Tom Scott, some questions about the new social app and here are their responses:

What are your backgrounds in terms of career / programming?

Matt’s a professional broadcast engineer working in radio, and Tom… makes web stuff. He doesn’t really have a better job description than that.

Why did you decide to create an emoji-only social network and what gave you the idea?

It came out of two stories: comedy social network Yo, and the Unicode consortium’s new emojis. The two of us had the idea at about the same time — we weren’t sold on it until we realized that usernames should be emoji too. At that point, we burst out laughing and realized we had to build it.

Will you allow Emoj.li network to sync up with other messaging services like Kik or WeChat as a kind of extension to those services – or do you intend to be stand-alone?

We haven’t even thought that far ahead, but we’ll be launching as stand-alone

Have you started using / testing the service yourself, and what is it like using it?

The app’s still in development at the moment, so we haven’t got to a full-on testing stage yet.

[youtube width=”700″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyybPvRsEuY[/youtube]

Now here is where I think this is a bad idea, Emoji isn’t serious, obviously, but it encourages people to be lazy with grammar. In fact it cuts it out entirely and with some of the English you see written in some places I fear it will cause people to just become numb in developing a language. Now that may seem a bit extreme but I have seen people using slang on CV’s and they think that it’s acceptable.

Example:

What skills do you think you can bring to this job?

Well i think dat i can use my skils to this work bcoz ive donit in da past [sic].

I’m not joking, someone has actually written that on a CV which makes me think, what will CV’s of the future look like? A bunch of smileys, money symbols and pictures of hands shaking? If it comes to that then I’m done, I will lock myself away with the knowledge of how the brilliant human race once wrote and spoke and watch mankind slip into a mess of slurring and grunting, we’ll be known once more as Homo Sapiens.

Thanks to Forbes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Digitaltrends.

Real Life Emoji’s Are Just Plain Scary

Non-profit group Innocence en Danger has created a campaign to highlight the dangers of children talking to strangers online by creating emoji’s using real human faces. The emjoi has long been used as a series of cartoony like images to show off emotions in text messages, instant messaging and skype. The goal of the adverting campaign is to draw attention to the issue of sexual predators who roam online chat services looking to meet children and by using emoji’s gain their trust.

The word emoji is a Japanese creation meaning picture (e) and letter (moji). While emoji’s have been around since the birth of texting and mobile phones, it is the terrible use that they are used for that is the driving force behind this campaign. Innocence en Danger is hoping that by seeing these creepy images parents and children alike will learn that when chatting online to strangers you never know how they are, even if they are using the emoji’s and to be careful because you never know who could be on the other end of the computer/phone.

Hopefully this campaign will take off and get awareness out to the serious issue of online sexual predators preying on children online.

Thank you News.com.au for the information provided 

Images courtesy of Innocene en Danger