Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Android Update

As regular readers know, I have long been in search of the perfect pda/phone/web browser. The latest Android phone, the Motorola Droid, officially announced today, may bring that goal a little closer. The screen is substantially larger than the screen on my G1, the keyboard is said to be a little better. The phone is not due to go on sale until November 6th, so until then I will have to be satisfied with pictures.

While gathering information on the Droid, I looked a little more carefully at the question of support for an external bluetooth keyboard, one of the features that my G1 lacks. Apparently the Droid will lack it too, at least for a while. Connecting such a keyboard requires the appropriate bluetooth profile, software telling the phone how to interpret the information coming in from the keyboard. Such a profile does not yet exist as part of the Android software, although developers appear to be working on the problem.

While on the subject of smartphones, I have an idea for a software product that, so far as I know, does not now exist—smartphone OCR. Use the camera on your phone to photograph a page of text, have software on the phone or, if the phone's processing power is insufficient, somewhere out on the net, turn the picture into text.


Expected Returns said...

Hi David - PicTranslator does this kind of thing (and then translates the text)

David Friedman said...

PicTranslator sounds, from the description, as if it's intended to handle very short texts--road signs and the like. Can you photograph a page of text and get it OCR'd?

Also, of course, it's an iPhone app.

Glen said...

There's also an iPhone app business card reader/parser:

What's your application? What do you want to *do* with the text after scanning it?

-dsr- said...

In the near future, you might also consider the Nokia N900. It has a large screen, slide-out keyboard, and supports BT keyboards.

Since it is running a Linux derivative, you will be able to run reasonably good word processors on it as well as text editors.

Gary Y. said...

Hi David,

Ray Kurzweil has done this -- it's called Kreader-mobile -- and it will even read the OCR'd text aloud. It's intended use was, initially at least, for the blind to enable them to 'read' books, newspapers, labels and other documents.

A little pricey as yet but would certainly do the job.


Unknown said...

Using Evernote would probably work for your application? It'll OCR to the point of searchability, though that's an easier task than being able to then edit the text.

David Friedman said...

Kreader sounds very close to what I want--but it's only available for one (Symbian) cell phone, and the web page doesn't say how expensive it is. Evernote might do the job, although that doesn't seem to be its main purpose--but it isn't available for Android, at least according to their web page.

But thanks to both of you for your suggestions.

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