Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Lamborghini has unveiled an update to its somewhat aged Gallardo model, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadro Corse. The model won’t be making its public debut until later this year, but a full roster of its specifications and what enthusiasts can expect has been revealed, among them being a V10 engine and lighter weight than the 560-4.
The Squadra Corse has a total weight of 1,340 kilograms, which places it at 70 kilograms less than the 560-4 and equal with a couple of other Lamborghini models. Inside, enthusiasts will find a V10 engine with 570 bhp and an e-gear six-speed paddleshift auto offering. Due to the use of a standard LP 570-4 chassis, the Corse is 4WD. The Corse can hit 62mph from stop in 3.4 seconds, and will reach 124mph from zero in 10.4 seconds. The top speed hits about 200mph, all of which complements the race car-inspired features and design of the car. The engine cover, for example, has a quick-release system, and the rear wing triples the LP 560-4′s load. The wheels are 19-inch offerings available in high-gloss black, as well as the grille, bonnet, air intakes and diffuser, while the rear wing is matte black. The rest of the vehicle is available in grey, white, red, and yellow colors, and a decal is present that is red, white, and green to hint at the car’s Italian underpinning. As for the inside of the Squadro Corse, Lamborghini says there’s carbon fiber across the seats, middle console, and door panels, part of the steering wheel and glove box, and the door handles and panel trim. Both comfort seats and racing seats are available, depending on preference. The car will be shown off at the Frankfurt Motor Show this upcoming September. SOURCE: Top Gear Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Squadra Corse unveiled is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
The two much-anticipated gaming consoles, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, have appeared in a listing over at Toys R Us with availability dates attached. Although not confirmed and accompanied by statements that the information is subject to change, the toy store’s listing shows the Xbox One as set for November 29, and the PS4 as coming surprisingly close to Christmas on December 13.
In addition to the shipping dates listed on the website, Toys R Us also shows the pricing for the consoles, with the Xbox One set at £419.99 and the PlayStation 4 set at £339.99. Aside from that, the listings don’t show much else, except for advisement regarding recommended age (hint: it’s 3 years and older) and that the devices aren’t available in-store. As has been stated – and is still displayed on the Xbox website – the console is expected to be available sometime in November, but no official date has been set. Whether the 29th will end up being that day is yet to be seen, but it is within the realm of possibility. The PlayStation 4′s date draws a tad more scrutiny due to how close it would be cutting it to Christmas time, but it also falls within the given availability time frame. Earlier this week, the controllers for both consoles went up for pre-order, allowing gamers to make sure they have enough to go around once their respective device is acquired. Both controllers are priced at $60, with the Xbox One controller’s Play and Charge kit being priced at $25, or as $75 total if purchased as a bundle. The consoles are up for pre-order now, so enthusiasts can grab one now. If the Toys R Us listing is correct, Sony fans could be looking at an extra couple weeks for their PlayStation 4 over those opting for an Xbox One, but as always, take it with a grain of salt. Even if the dates are correct at the moment, these things have a habit of changing. SOURCE: The Inquirer Story Timeline Nintendo: Xbox One and PS4 don't frighten us PS4 digital library sharing gives you access from any console Xbox One, PS4 launch day pre-orders sold out on Amazon Xbox One indie self-publishing on the way Xbox One and PS4 controller pre-orders now live Xbox One and PlayStation 4 shipping dates show up in Toys R Us listing is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
It has been more than two years since Facebook made it possible for users to enable a secure “https” connection for their account, something that had the side-effect of slightly longer loading times and reduced chances of hackery on public networks. Starting today, the social network will be making secure browsing its default following work on speeding it up and increasing compatibility.
According to Facebook, with this change 80-percent of the social network’s mobile browser traffic and “virtually all” of its desktop browser traffic is done with a secure connection. Some devices and gateways don’t support https, however, something Facebook says it is working with vendors on. For those affected by this, the session is downgraded when applicable. As part of the process of switching over to the secure connection, Facebook says cookies were set with a Set-Cookie header for sending only for https requests. For insecure requests, the social network sends a csm cookie sans authentication, prompting a redirect to a secure connection for the proper cookies needed. As far as referrer headers go, Facebook redirects through an http page to keep private data secure, with the exception Chrome, which offers meta referrer as an alternative. As far as third-party content goes, Facebook says that it gave its developers 150 days to update their apps and secure a certificate. The migration for users is taking place as a two-part process, which involves pushing sessions to the secure connection while the network is being used, meaning logging out and back in isn’t necessary. Facebook has also addressed performance concerns, saying that it has dealt with latency issues via a combination of abbreviated handshakes and an infrastructure upgrade. Edge networks, load balancers, and “various techniques” have all been deployed to help keep performance up. More improvements are slated to be released this autumn, bringing with them increased security. SOURCE: Facebook Facebook pushes all users onto more secure connection by default is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Motorola unveiled its X8 computing system earlier this month alongside the announcement of its new line of DROID handsets. Although the new system wasn’t discussed in too much detail, we learned that it harbored 8 cores consisting of a dual-core offering from Qualcomm, a quad-core processor, a single core nature language processor, and a single contextual processor. Now one of Motorola’s executives has spoken up, dishing more info on the hardware.
The X8 processor setup, which Motorola calls a computing system, powers the new DROID Mini, DROID Maxx, and DROID Ultra handsets, and if all goes as anticipated, will also power the Moto X flagship to be launched tomorrow. Calling the system a processor isn’t entirely correct – it is an amalgamation of hardware and software consisting of both known and unknown components. Motorola’s Senior VP of Engineering Iqbal Arshad said: “We’ve done additional optimizations on top of that such as optimizing the entire Linux user space to move it to an ARM instruction set, cache optimization, Dalvik just-in-time optimization, and we’ve changed the file system. It’s full hardware-software integration to deliver best-in-class performance.” On the known end of the spectrum, the X8 features a customized Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.7GHz with custom firmware and a couple of DSPs. On the unknown side of things, there’s a natural language processor and contextual computing processor. While Arshad did say that neither of them are ARM cores, he didn’t state much else, such as what company made them. Interestingly enough, the senior VP said that without the natural language processor and contextual computing processor, the handsets would require two more batteries on top of the ones already used. He also said that the X8 computing system can “work with anybody’s CPU.” The natural language hardware works with audio – noise cancellation, estimation, and audio – while the contextual processor deals with touch, display, and sensor, as well as perhaps working as the main processor when the handset goes into standby mode. SOURCE: PCMag Motorola X8 computing system detailed with combo of processors and firmware is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
A couple of Samsung‘s SMART cameras went up for sale back in February, among them being the WB250F 14.2-megapixel shooter. Fast-forward a few months, and this camera has been bestowed with new functionality thanks to a partnership between Samsung and Evernote, bringing the latter service to the camera for additional sharing capabilities. The software update with the integration rolled out today.
The Samsung WB250F already provides ways for users to share images socially, but with the new integration, Evernote faithfuls will be able to use the service directly from the camera, allowing for images taken to be synced to other devices – such as a smartphone or tablet – that is running Evernote as well. Furthermore, the new feature is being offered alongside three free months of Evernote Premium. With Evernote Premium, the upload limit is increased to 1GB per month, and both sharing options and image processing speed get a boost. The software update that was released is only available for users in the United States, and is being included on new versions of the camera being shipped, which includes an Evernote redemption code that needs to be activated on the company’s website. The Samsung WB250F runs SMART Camera 2.0, which provides features like Direct Link and AutoShare. The camera itself features a BSI CMOS sensor, as well as 18x optical zoom and the typical p/s/a/m manual camera modes. The back panel is a touchscreen, and there are also five-way navigational keys. The camera is available in cobalt black, white, gun metal, and wine red for $249.99. Said Samsung’s Vice President of Marketing for Digital Imagine Ron Gazzola: “Consumers want to take great pictures that they can share with their family and friends. With the addition of Evernote to Samsung’s WB250F, users can now seamlessly sync their images across devices and share their photo memories with other Evernote users.” Samsung WB250F SMART camera gains Evernote integration is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Jaguar’s painfully powerful XKR-S GT has returned for another limited production run, with a further ten examples of the road-ready but track-prepared coupe set to go on sale. Following the thirty cars earmarked for North America at the New York International Auto Show earlier this year, Jaguar has revealed plans to bring the 545 HP Nürburgring-chomper to the UK for those with deep wallets and a taste for speed.
Just as in North America, the XKR-S GT won’t be a cheap runaround. In the US, the car started at $174,000, while in the UK it will be offered at £135,000; UK deliveries are set to begin in October this year. Jaguar hasn’t been sitting back in the months since the XKR-S GT made its New York debut. The company has in fact been throwing the car round Germany’s Nordschleife circuit, where it can apparently complete a lap in 7 minutes and 40 seconds. That, the big cat firm is keen to point out, makes it the fastest ever street-legal Jaguar. Still, when you look at what’s gone into the car, that doesn’t seem quite so surprising. Under the hood there’s a 550PS, 680Nm supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine, good for 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds. It’s limited to 186mph at the top-end. Carbon-ceramic brakes – with six-piston monoblock calipers at the front, and four-piston at the back – and new height-adjustable adaptive dampers give the XKR-S GT a wider front track, and the steering system has been uprated for faster turns. Then, of course, there are the lashings of carbon-fiber – used on the front splitter, the dive planes, extended wheelarch spats, elevated rear wing, and the rear diffuser – and a new aluminum valance. A mere ten owners will get to take the keys to the new car, leaving everyone else wanting a speedy hard-top Jaguar to wait for 2014′s F-Type Coupe. That will likely be a little less extreme, but a lot more affordable. Jaguar XKR-S GT cracks Nurburgring record as ten more cars confirmed is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Nintendo sold just 160,000 Wii U units in the last quarter, a huge slump of more than 50-percent compared to the previous three month period. The sluggish demand, which bring total lifetime sales of the Wii U to 3.61m units, was blamed on “few key first-party titles” by Nintendo [pdf link], with a mere 1.03m software sales in the same period.
In fact, even the far older Wii outsold its newer console sibling during the quarter. Hardware sales of the Wii reached 210,000 units, in fact, while 3.67m games were sold. In portable gaming, Nintendo sold 1.4m 3DS and 11.01m games for the glasses-free 3D handheld. That was partly down to the worldwide success of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which sold 1.54m copies alone. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon followed close behind, with 1.43m worldwide sales. It’s the demand – or lack of – for the Wii U that is most concerning for Nintendo investors. The company has consistently refused to discount the console, despite waning support from game publishers; earlier this month, Ubisoft put Nintendo on notice after revealing it had sold so few copies of launch-day title ZombiU that it was “not even close” to making a profit. EA and Activision have also voiced concerns that the Wii U isn’t giving sufficient return to make developing for it worthwhile. The fall-out has been swift. Major UK grocery store chain Asda – second-largest in the country – has pulled the Wii U, its games, and accessories from the shelves of its 555 stores, with minimal online sales of a few “select” titles. No other retailer has announced plans to follow suit yet, though industry observers predict that may only be a matter of time. Even with the underwhelming sales, Nintendo still managed to turn a gross profit in the three month period, pulling in 36.4bn yen ($372m). That was unfortunately offset by high selling, general, and administrative expenses that pushed operating loss to 4.9bn yen ($50m), in part from spending on 3DS promotions and Wii U gaming development. Story Timeline Nintendo Wii U continues with lackluster sales Stop the Nonsense, Nintendo: The Wii U Needs Help - And Now Wii U slump misses even Nintendo's lowered expectations Ubisoft not developing Wii U exclusives until console sales rise Wii U ZombiU so unprofitable Ubisoft puts Nintendo on notice Wii U dumped by major retailer as PS4 and Xbox One near Wii U sales plummet: Just 160,000 sold in last quarter is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Flying car? Road-going plane? Whatever the Terrafugia Transition is, it’s finally starting to show its airborne skills, being publicly shown off going from road to flight to road again for the first time in a 20 minute demonstration at the EAA AirVenture show this weekend. The $300k hybrid went from trundling the runway at the Oshkosh, WI airshow – wings furled – to taking off and performing a fly-by for the crowd.
It’s not the first time the Transition has flown, of course. Back in 2012, the company announced the converting car had taken to the skies for the very first time, following a proof-of-concept flight of an earlier prototype in 2009. This latest demonstration, however, aimed to show just how practical the Transition technology could be. The car’s wings are motorized and can be controlled from inside the cabin, meaning you could effectively go from road to air without stepping outside. That, Terrafugia president of business development Richard Gersh argues, makes it ideal for use in bad weather. Still, exactly who might be interested in buying one is still something of a mystery, especially given the price tag of more than a quarter of a million dollars. “We don’t know the market yet. A lot of people are waiting to see it fly,” Gersh told the Journal Sentinel. “But if you see one flying, that’s the best advertising.” Right now, though, only $10,000 deposits are being taken, and they’re refundable too. Over 100 have apparently put their names down, despite the production car not being expected until 2015 at the earliest. If the Transition – which couldn’t really be called car-like in its design – is a little too close to a plane for your liking, Terrafugia’s planned TF-X might be worth waiting for. Currently a concept, it’s described as a “four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric flying car with fly-by-wire vertical takeoff and landing” to make flight just as straightforward as driving. VIA Autoblog Story Timeline Transition, The Flying Car from Terrafugia Terrafugia Transition is drivable airplane Terrafugia flying car to be shown at New York Auto Show Terrafugia's flying car prototype makes first flight Terrafugia's TF-X concept flying car makes every road its launch pad Terrafugia Transition flying car’s first public flight demos practicality is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
It’s time to get up close and personal with the Huawei Ascend P6 once again. This device was first introduced to the world in June of 2013 at an event in England, complete with a full-on test of its software. This device is Huawei’s answer to the 2013 wave of hero devices from Samsung with the Galaxy S 4 and HTC with the HTC One. Is the Huawei Ascend P6 up to the task of taking on the greatest in Android?
This machine works with a 4.7-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution, running up to 312 PPI. This display works with IPS LCD technology and sits behind a pane of Corning Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance. Under the hood is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a unique Huawei-made UI called “Emotion UI 1.6″. Inside you’ve also got a quad-core Huawei K3V2 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, this alongside 2GB of RAM and internal storage of 8GB. Of that, only 4.7GB of storage is available to users, but there is also a microSD card slot for memory expansion by 32GB. This slot is alongside a microSIM card slot for carrier data. This device is exceedingly thin at just 6.2 mm (that’s 0.24 inches) with a height at 132.7 mm and a width of 65.5 mm. On the back of the Huawei Ascend P6 is an 8 megapixel camera with the ability to film 1080p video at 30fps, while up front you’re working with a 5 megapixel camera capable of 720p. This device features a rather distinct set of hardware bits – if you don’t count the similarities between this device’s aesthetics and those of the iPhone, of course. There’s a kick-out pin that exists in the loop at the top of the machine, this little pin set to push out each of this machine’s micro cards. Convenient on one hand, easy to lose on the other. Stick around as we give this machine a full run-down review style sooner than later – until then, be sure to let us know what you’d like to know! Story Timeline Huawei Ascend P6 official: 6.18mm thick and aiming for your iPhone Huawei Ascend P6 hands-on (Just don't ask about Beauty Shot) Huawei Ascend P6 vs iPhone 5: do similarities go just skin deep? Huawei Ascend P6 Google Edition reportedly on the way Huawei Ascend P6 Unboxing and Hands-on is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Only a handful of National Security Agency staff have the power to run checks on the US phone records list, NSA director Keith Alexander claimed today at the Black Hat keynote, facing an at-times vocal crowd at the annual security conference. Attempting to challenge widespread assumptions that the NSA has carte-blanche by the courts to monitor, phone-tap, and generally carry out intrusive surveillance against anybody they wish, General Alexander said he had first hand experience of how reluctant to grant approval the courts could actually be, describing the process as “wire brushings”.
“I’ve heard the court is a rubber stamp” he said during his speech, Forbes reports. “I’m on the other end of that table, against that table of judges that don’t take any – I’m trying to think of a word here – from even a four-star general. They want to make sure what we’re doing comports with the constitution and the law … I can tell you from the wire brushings I’ve received, they are not a rubber stamp.” Alexander’s argument also concerned exactly how many people have access to NSA records and logs, which he suggested was far fewer than many following the PRISM controversy might assume. Of everyone at the NSA, only 22 can approve numbers on the US metadata/business records list, he claimed, TechCrunch reports. A total of 35 analysts are then authorized to actually run the queries. In fact, Alexander told the audience, less than 300 numbers were approved for queries in 2012 overall. Of those, twelve resulted in reports to the FBI. The NSA obtains the date and time of the call and its duration, as well as the address called and called-from. The origin of the metadata record (including site and source) is also accessible, though not voice or text content, subscriber information (such as name or address), credit card numbers, or locational information. Nonetheless, the NSA chief faced an at times contrary crowd, and was heckled at least once. “You lied to Congress” one audience member shouted during the general’s speech, “why would people believe you’re not lying to us right now?” Alexander denied that, saying instead that “I haven’t lied to Congress” and that he believes “it’s important for us to have this discussion. Because in my opinion, what you believe is what’s written in the press without looking at the facts. This is the greatest technical center of gravity in the world. I ask that you all look at those facts.” Told, at the end of his keynote, that he should “read the constitution” by another audience member, Alexander replied “I have. So should you.” It’s not the first time the general has appeared in front of a security-minded crowd of this sort. Last year, in fact, Alexander gave the keynote speech at the DEF CON conference, though this year government security services were “uninvited” from the event as hackers mulled over the documents leaked, in part, by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Story Timeline SlashGear 101: PRISM, FISA, and the modern NSA DEF CON uninvites Feds after NSA PRISM backlash Microsoft NSA sharing accused by The Guardian, denied in statement NSA sued by coalition headed by EFF over US-based telephone surveillance XKeyscore NSA tool uncovered, collects pretty much the whole internet NSA director gives PRISM primer in tense Black Hat keynote is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
It’s time for Google to expand their reach with Project Glass again, this time through their Glass Creative Collective program aimed at the more artistic citizens of planet Earth. Google’s reach includes the The American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and University of Southern California.
This is only the latest in a series of Glass initiatives that’ve appeared just this week. Glass appeared on several celebrities and creative heads including Jon Bon Jovi, Gary Shteyngart, and journalist Tim Pool. Meanwhile shareable invites have appeared in the inboxes of Google Glass owners – the expansion of Glass Explorer Program continues here. It’s not been all good news for the wearable, on the other hand, as a UK “careless driving” ban has reportedly been seen in the works. Google continues to work on a “hyper-local” Google Now expansion that’ll be well suited for Glass. “We’re really interested to find out how Glass will contribute to the craft of storytelling, specifically through film. So, we reached out to various film schools … They’ll start exploring how Glass can be used in production, documentary filmmaking, character development and things we haven’t yet considered. We’re eager to see what they come up with and we’ll be sure to share more with you once school is back in session.” – Google Creative Collective For these schools, the opportunities in filming from a first-person perspective have only just begun. Have a peek at our Project Glass tag portal as well as our Google Glass Fireside Chat Series from Google I/O 2013. Google Glass reaching out to film students in newest Creative Collective bid is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
While the current pre-production iteration of the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch might not be the most flashy wearable to appear this year, the proposition made by the company for a full-powered Android smart device is certainly enticing. This device works with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and a dual-core processor as well as Bluetooth, meaning you’ll not only be able to connect to your smartphone (or Google Glass, why not), you’ll be able to run Android apps galore.
This wearable Android device will be working with a 1.5-inch 240 x 240 pixel AMOLED Color display above its MediaTek MT6572 Cortex A7 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM. This watch has 4GB of internal storage as well as a microSD card slot capable of carrying an up to 32GB card for memory expansion. TrueSmart works with A-GPS for navigation, Wi-fi connectivity along B/G/N, an accelerometer, magnetometer, and an FM Tuner for radio. There’s hardware vibration feedback, there’s an external speaker, and the whole thing is waterproof and dustproof with IP67 certification. The back panel also comes off to reveal a removable, replaceable battery. That little lens on the side of the device is a 5 megapixel camera. The camera works with an AF lens and, though we’ll still have to test the unit to see how well it actually performs, it is – from what we can tell – the first camera to ever have appeared on an Android watch. “The Omate TrueSmart is the world’s only smartwatch phone with a proper dual core processor to handle Android apps properly, incl. voice command, voice-to-text, voice navigation etc. Being a smartwatch-phone with 3G, Wifi and Bluetooth means you can pair with your smartphones or google glass, or work independently without your smartphone, eg. swimming, jogging, at the beach, clubbing etc.” – Omate The Omate team makes a point to suggest the watch is rootable, too. Specifically with CWM (ClockWorkMod) recovery, even. Those of you aiming for a true vanilla Android experience will want to aim for that root right away as this machine works with “Omate OS 1.0″, “based on Android 4.2″. There’s also some built-in “gesture controls” inside the custom OS that will, as the team says, “help developers enhance the apps experience on the wrist.” “We’re also committed to supporting developers, and since it is running Android 4.2.2 (plus rootable), there’s little or no work in porting apps (simply work on some user experience changes).” – Omate The Omate TrueSmart isn’t yet a final product – it’s not even up to a funding level yet, being part of a startup that’ll soon be moving to that phase of the project. What they do have, on the other hand, is what they call “full manufacturing capability”. They’ve made clear that they are “committed to delivering in October” of 2013 and that they’re working with “members in the team are industry experts with experience and expertise in producing commercial technology products (incl. smartphones).” We’ll be watching this one closely – no pun intended. Omate TrueSmart smartwatch bringing dual-core Android with a camera is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
The first remix of the iPad mini that’ll be hitting the market later this year has appeared in the software developer kit sent to developers for the newest iteration of iOS 7. This device has appeared in three iterations; one with basic Wi-fi, the other two matching the carrier editions already out in the USA. This device has been tipped here to be carrying an updated processor tied to the same display it’s already using today.
Codes for this new line of iPad mini models appear as iPad 2,8, iPad 2,9, and iPad 2,10. Each of these are connected in kind with device names J75, J76, and J77, while the current (original) iPad mini lineup still exists in code as iPad 2,5, 6, and 7. Platform code s5l8950x appears alongside each of the new model iPad mini, this pointing toward a processor precisely like that in the iPhone 5. This is the A6 chip, one that should offer a significant boost for the smaller tablet in everything from web browsing to playing high-powered games. While it would seem – by all means – that these devices appearing in code would refer to them being released by the end of the year by Apple in an iPad update event, there’s always the possibility that Apple would wait until a Retina-display iPad mini could be prepared for mass shipping. Based on tips and analysis on the matter we’ve seen thus far, it would appear much more likely that such a model would appear in early 2014. Though it’s not out of the question that Apple would release another iPad mini by the end of the year with the same display it’s working with today, Google’s push of the second generation of the Nexus 7 may have given them incentive to hold off. Nothing like releasing a product as new when your biggest competitor just released a direct competitor device with a display resolution far, far sharper than your own. VIA: 9 to 5 Mac iPad mini reboot appears in iOS 7 code with key details is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Facebook has launched Embedded Posts, allowing public posts on the social network to be included elsewhere online, just as Twitter, Vine, and Instagram already offer. The new feature, which is currently limited to a select number of company pages but will eventually be opened up to any publicly-shared post, supports hashtags, “read more” splits and the ability to Like the source page directly from the embed.
Microsoft has decided to skip a battle they’d have had to fight if they’d continued down the road with their cloud storage service SkyDrive amid a call to action by British Sky Broadcasting. That company, also known as BSkyB, planned legal means of ending Microsoft’s use of the “SkyDrive” brand name due to conflicts with their own similar naming structure. Initial judgement on the matter saw BSkyB winning out in the England and Whales High Court.
This move will have Microsoft’s SkyDrive (and SkyDrive Pro, and whatever else Microsoft has with SkyDrive in its name) switching up its branding rather quickly. It’s a “reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand” according to the joint statement from the companies released today. “According to the settlement, Microsoft will not pursue its planned appeal of this decision and Sky will allow Microsoft to continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand. The agreement also contains financial and other terms, the details of which are confidential.” While this may also show signs that the BSkyB ecosystem will have room for a Sky Drive – or some other sort of similar name – for a future cloud-based system, it’s more likely that this move was only made in defense. It’s not every day you have a brand that’s just three letters long, after all. Microsoft had a similar legal dispute in 2012 when their “Metro” branding of Windows 8 elements was challenged by retailer Metro AG. That dispute ended similarly, with Microsoft only going so far as to re-name the system “Modern UI”. It was also challenged that the UI was never named anything, only Windows 8 style – but the ruling remains. SkyDrive brand change set amid potential legal battle is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Google Glass is likely to face a ban for in-car use in the UK, with government regulators supposedly concerned that the wearable will be too distracting to drivers. The decision, still yet to be made official, could put use of Glass – which offers a driver navigation mode, among other features – in the same “careless driving” category as using a cellphone while behind the wheel, Stuff reports.
Glass is still a work-in-progress for Google, though one of the most useful features of the headset is its ability to give discrete navigation directions. Linked to a smartphone, the wearable can show a pared-back map and compass-led route indicators for those taking a car, a bike, or a pedestrian journey. However, while the details given in the eyepiece are less comprehensive than on, say, a smartphone display – they don’t include nearby points-of-interest, for instance – the fact that Glass offers messaging, photography, and other functionality seems to have raised concerns. The result is likely to be an early inclusion of wearables in driver-distraction regulations, ahead of Glass’ commercial release. “We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving. It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road. A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offense later this year” UK Department for Transport spokesperson Those penalties, currently predominantly affecting cellphone users, could see fixed fines of around £60 ($90) as well as points on the driver’s license for anybody caught using Glass while also at the wheel. It’s unclear if US regulators will pass similar laws, though driver distraction is already a controversial topic at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Last year, the agency announced it was considering placing limits on in-car touchscreens as they presented an increased risk of drawing attention away from the road, later leading to requests for car manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the amount of dashboard gadgets they included. Ford has already moved to restore physical controls to its cars, though it’s questionable whether even advanced hands-free systems will be enough to satisfy safety advocates. Recent research indicates that distraction levels when using Bluetooth headsets and voice navigation prompts are sometimes equally as high as when consulting screens. Story Timeline Driver distraction rules threaten Tesla-style touchscreens Distractions cause more fatal crashes than smartphones says study Cars must block or badger texting drivers says NHTSA safety researcher Hands-free tech doesn't help with driver distraction says researchers Ford bringing back buttons after touchscreen distraction fears Steve Wozniak talks in-car tech, Google Glass, and the new Mac Pro Google Glass faces driver-distraction ban in UK over safety fears is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
This Summer T-Mobile will be kicking out its smallest – and least expensive – Android-powered 4G LTE smartphone with the LG Optimus F3. This device will be appearing with the same specifications as it has on other carriers both inside the USA and internationally, save some T-Mobile app additions and some simple T-Mobile branding on the smartphone’s back. This device will be offered in black, and black alone.
This smartphone works with a 4-inch IPS LCD touchscreen coming in at 480 x 800 pixels above a dual-core 1.2GHz processor for power. This device works with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 for scratch resistance, and its software build is exceedingly similar to that of the LG Optimus G Pro we experienced earlier this year. Unlike that device, this one is not meant to break the benchmark charts or appear as the strongest smartphone on the block. Instead it’s meant to come in as an affordable alternative to the top-tier, still bringing with it a collection of features that any year before this one would’ve placed it in a next-generation category. That includes LG’s own SmartShare with DLNA wireless media mirroring and file sharing, Wi-Fi Direct, and QSlide for “advanced multitasking”. Have a peek at our story on the LG Optimus F3 coming to Virgin Mobile for more on how this device is making its way into the pockets of the thrifty across the USA. The LG Optimus F3 will be taking part in T-Mobile’s new pricing structure. This means – in this case – that the device will cost $0 down, followed up by a total of 24 monthly payments of $10. You’ll need to hook yourself up with a data and voice plan to do anything with it, but the hardware itself will therefor end up costing you just $240 in the end. LG Optimus F3 arriving at T-Mobile with 4G LTE is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
NEC has pulled out of the smartphone business, conceding that it has been left behind in the highly-competitive segment, and announcing an immediate cessation of development, manufacturing, and sales of the devices. The Japanese company will continue to make dumbphones, however, along with tablets, but “handset shipments are following a downward trend and it is difficult to foresee improved performance in the future” in its smartphone business, NEC concedes.
The majority of NEC Casio Mobile Communications employees currently working on smartphone projects will be shifted to other parts of NEC’s firm, as the company now focuses on other uses of mobile tech. “Going forward,” the firm said in a statement, “NEC will capitalize on the technologies and know-how acquired through the development of wireless communications, terminals and human interfaces for the mobile phone handset business in order to strengthen its Social Solutions Business.” That includes pushing cloud technology in enterprise and medical settings, as well as biometrics for security, and video surveillance systems. NEC also has a footprint in smart-grid systems, adding intelligence to power networks so as to better manage energy supplies. “NEC is ending the development, manufacturing and sale of smartphones, other than models already on the market. NEC will continue providing maintenance and support services for its existing smartphones. NEC will also continue developing and producing conventional mobile phone handsets” NEC NEC’s struggles to compete with smartphones have developed over some time. The company was strong in the Japanese market, but has seen increasing competition there from Sony, Samsung, LG, and others; meanwhile, attempts to engage the broader market with slimline phones like the 2011 MEDIAS E-04C, at just 7.7mm thick, failed to capture the public imagination. Rumors back in March suggested Lenovo was a potential suitor for NEC’s phone business, but a deal failed to materialize. Back in 2011, the two firms had hinted at a potential collaboration in mobile devices. Existing smartphones will be supported moving forward, but R&D on new models has ceased as of this week. NEC is yet to calculate what potential impact the decision will have on its 2014 financial year results. Story Timeline Lenovo and NEC team up for PCs and smartphones Lenovo reportedly in talks to buy NEC's mobile phone business NEC dumps smartphone business (but will keep making tablets) is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Just as we thought we knew everything about the government spying on us, another leak has made its way into the limelight that reveals a new program, besides PRISM, that collects a ton of information about users on the internet, including email, Facebook chats, and web browsing history.
The Guardian has revealed a set of training documents from 2008 and 2010 that identifies a spying program called XKeyscore that taps into almost everything that a user is doing online. This tool can be used by the NSA, as well as outside contractors, such as people like Edward Snowden when he worked for Booz Allen. While government officials have denied Snowden claims of what he was capable of accessing, the training documents reveal that Snowden was right. The documents detail how analysts can use XKeyscore to mine agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form. Perhaps the scariest part is that the request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed, and the analyst only needs to provide a general justification for the request. One of the documents says that the XKeyscore program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet,” and this can include emails, web browsing history, Facebook chats, and more. Plus, officials can obtain “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity. For example, one of the training slides illustrates internet activity constantly being collected by XKeyscore, with the ability to query the databases at any time. However, according to laws on NSA surveillance, this data can only be used to target non-Americans without needing a warrant, which means that a warrant would be needed for US citizens. Then again, that doesn’t make us feel much better about the situation. Pretty soon, we’ll know almost everything there is to know about the background operations of the government, because when one whistleblower shows up, it’s like the domino effect. However, while this could lead to a bit of positive change, it seems the government and Obama administration are set on keeping things the way they are, saying that people can’t have 100% privacy and 100% security all at once. SOURCE: The Guardian Story Timeline SlashGear 101: PRISM, FISA, and the modern NSA NSA faces potential German PRISM investigation after EU bugging claims NSA sued by coalition headed by EFF over US-based telephone surveillance Microsoft requesting permission to post NSA involvement: Request denied XKeyscore NSA tool uncovered, collects pretty much the whole internet is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
We’ve already seen a wealth of different Galaxy S 4 variants pop up throughout the summer, but Samsung is continuing the trend with new models of the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S 4 mini by adding dual-mode LTE. Samsung says these phones are the world’s first handsets to support both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE, but ZTE’s Grand Era technically was there first.
In either case, this dual-mode support basically means the these phones can operate with different types of 4G LTE networks, allowing users to use their phone on different types of networks around the world, which is great road warriors who do a lot of traveling. FDD-LTE is known as the standard for LTE, but the TDD-LTE standard is making its way into the world, and deployments are planned for the future, with China being a big location for TDD-LTE. Both the flagship Galaxy S 4 and it’s smaller brother, the Galaxy S 4 mini, will get the new technology. Currently, there’s no details as far as availability and pricing for the dual-mode LTE phones, but it seems like we should be expecting them soon. We’ve already seen an LTE-Advanced Galaxy S 4, and these new dual-mode LTE versions simply reiterate Samsung’s commitment to LTE throughout the world. Of course, this isn’t too surprising, as LTE is quickly becoming the network standard for data connections, at least until 5G rolls around. Story Timeline Samsung ships 20m Galaxy S 4: Eyes 100m record MetroPCS Samsung Galaxy S 4 arrives today Samsung GALAXY S 4 launched at C Spire Wireless Galaxy S 4 benchmark-tampering allegations denied by Samsung Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S 4 mini getting dual-mode LTE is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Paperboy has gone down in the history books as one of the best video games ever, and some may say that if you’ve never played it, then you’re not a true video gamer. Either way, the game is a classic, and a new Oculus Rift hack brings the 1984 title back into the 21st century to make the experience as real as it can get.
The folks at Globacore call it PaperDude VR, and it combines the Oculus Rift, Microsoft Kinect, a Wahoo Fitness KickR bike trainer, and a real bike to turn the classic game into a completely interactive title that has players pedaling the bike and tossing imaginary newspapers on door steps as they ride by. So does it all work? Globacore says that the KickR bike sensor detects the speed of the bike and can even provide resistance just as if you were on the road itself. The sensor on the bike trainer communicates speed and cadence through Bluetooth to an iPad which then feeds the data to the game. As for the Oculus Rift and Kinect, those are pretty self-explanatory. The Kinect monitors your arms movements and sees when you toss and imaginary newspaper. When it registers a throw motion, it will send that data to the game where the character will throw the virtual newspaper on a virtual doorstep. The Oculus Rift allows players to look around in a 360-degree image for the full experience. Obviously, this is something that we probably won’t see hit the retail market, and is merely just a project, but it once again proves the many things that the Oculus Rift is capable of, as well as the Kinect and the bike trainer. SOURCE: Globacore Story Timeline Oculus Rift latency and motion sickness issues addressed Oculus Rift aiming for subsidized cost, could be free with subscription Oculus Rift hack puts user inside Black Armor Drone with first-person view Oculus Rift smartphone support may be on the way Oculus Rift hack brings Paperboy to the 21st century is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
We’ve been enjoying Microsoft Office on the iPhone for a little while now, but it has finally arrived on Android smartphones, with support for tablets still MIA, just as with the iPad on iOS. Office Mobile for Android brings cloud-based office suite fun to Google’s mobile platform in the form of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The Android version of Office Mobile is pretty much identical to the iOS version as far as features that it provides, except for the general user interface, which received a slight change in Android to accommodate Google’s requirements, but other than that, Android users should feel right at home with the new app if they’ve been using it on iOS. Sadly, you’ll still need an Office 365 subscription in order to use the app, but the app itself is completely free to download. Office 365 plans cost as low as just a couple of dollars per month if you’re a student, and just a bit more if you’re using it for business purposes. This isn’t too much cash, but it certainly doesn’t beat the free cost of Google Docs and iWork for iCloud. As of now, there are no plans for an Android tablet version, but Microsoft is recommending users use Office Web Apps on tablets. In any case, though, the editing on the mobile Android app are fairly limited, with just the basics to work with, like font style and making simple corrections. The app is available now in the Google Play store as a free download. Story Timeline Microsoft Office 365 to be updated every 3 months Microsoft Office's president Kurt DelBene hints at new Office 365 apps Analysts question Microsoft Office 365 adoption rate Microsoft Office Web Apps' upcoming improvements to include Android support Microsoft Office Mobile for Android arrives, requires Office 365 subscription is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Tomorrow will bring the official unveiling of the Moto X, which has been one of the most talked-about unreleased phones for the past couple of months. However, while we’re still a day away from the revealing, that doesn’t mean leaks will magically stop. In fact, the most-recent leak reveals that that Moto X will support nano-SIM.
What’s perhaps most interesting is that nano-SIM slots are usually reserved for smaller or thinner phones, and from what we’ve seen from past leaked images of the Moto X, it’s certainly not a small or thin phone by any means, which begs the questions of why Motorola chose nano-SIM. Either way, the Moto X will join the iPhone 5 and ASUS PadFone Infinity as the only smartphones in the world to use a nano-SIM slot, so owners will no doubt have a piece of exclusivity when they get a hold of the Moto X, although having a nano-SIM slot isn’t really something that most people would be super excited to brag about anyway. Furthermore, swapping out SIM cards may not be as easy as other devices. Since the Moto X will use nano-SIM, it’ll be a bit harder to take a SIM from another phone and use it in the Moto X. We’ve heard of instances before where people chop up their SIM cards to fit in smaller SIM trays (yours truly included), but we’ll see how this will work out once the phone reaches the masses. We expect to see the Moto X get revealed tomorrow. We’ve seen plenty of photos of the new phone, and it’s pretty much all but officially announced. It’s possible that many of the features we saw in the new DROID lineup last week will make their way to the Moto X, but it’ll be anyone’s guess as to what we’ll see. VIA: Android Community Story Timeline Moto X press image leaks ahead of August event Moto X camera interface leaks with new look and swipe gestures Moto X screenshots show Lost Phone Tracking, Connect Chrome Extension and more Moto X unveiling event to be followed up with star-studded after-party Moto X glass panel leaks up close Moto X nano-SIM support hinted in leaked image is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
It was discovered yesterday that Samsung allegedly tampered with the Galaxy S 4 in order to provide the best possible benchmark scores in different apps. However, Samsung has addressed the allegations and says that they haven’t done such a thing, saying that they didn’t use any sly tricks to achieve higher benchmark scores.
AnandTech reported that Samsung apparently messed with the Galaxy S 4′s internal chips by allowing the graphics processor to run at a higher clock speed than normal, cranking it up to 533MHz vs. 480MHz. This essentially gave the phone quite the boost that normal users wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise. On Samsung’s Korean website, the company addressed the benchmark-tampering allegations made by AnandTech, saying that under normal conditions, the Galaxy S4 operates at up to 533MHz at its best performance. The company also says that some games don’t require the maximum clock speed, so this means the GPU operates at different levels in order to save on battery and such. However, Samsung says that full-screen apps such as “S browser, gallery, camera, video player, etc.” require “the highest performance” in order to function properly, and this includes benchmarking apps, which was the culprit that caught the eye of suspicious users. These kinds of apps require the full 533MHz, according to Samsung. Previously, AnandTech discovered a string of code that mentioned several benchmarking apps, and when these apps are loaded, the phone is told to ramp up its GPU performance to full speed, which raised a lot of eyebrows. However, Samsung says that this is the case for all apps that are full-screen (a.k.a. apps that hide the status bar). SOURCE: Samsung Story Timeline Samsung Galaxy S 4 Wireless Charging kit hands-on Samsung ships 20m Galaxy S 4: Eyes 100m record Google Play Edition: Galaxy S 4 and HTC One Review iPhone 5 and GALAXY S 4 anti-theft technology put to test Galaxy S 4 benchmark-tampering allegations denied by Samsung is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
We got our hands on the HP Slatebook x2 back in May, a Tegra 4-powered Android slate with a dedicated keyboard, giving it netbook-like functionality. Word had it the device would be available in August of this year, and while that date hasn’t changed, the Slatebook x2 has now appeared on HP’s website alongside a price tag of $479.99 USD.
HP has the device listed as a tablet and a notebook, and has a contact form available allowing the interested to sign up for availability notifications. As we detailed back when the device was announced, the Slatebook x2 has a 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 and 400 nit brightness. This works out to a PPI of 224.17, which is certainly decent. As mentioned, the device runs on a quad-core Tegra 4 processor alongside 2GB of RAM, with storage being set at 16GB. That number can be further expanded by 32GB with an SD card via the expansion slot. Because the device is a slate with a keyboard dock, there are two batteries – one in the tablet portion and one in the keyboard portion, giving it a long battery life when the two are combined. Speaking of the docking aspect, the keyboard attaches to the tablet with a magnetic hinge, so removing and combining the two is simple. There are both front-facing and rear webcams, with the front camera being positioned where you’d expect to find the camera when using a notebook. Sound comes from DTS Sound+, but unfortunately the speakers are on the back, decreasing the sound experience. And then there’s the software, with the Slatebook x2 running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean that is near vanilla. You can check out the device in action in our comparison video above, then head on in to our hands-on to see a full gallery of the device. SOURCE: Android Community HP Slatebook x2 appears online, still slated for August launch is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
The 2014 Audi RS 7 is being touted as the most powerful amongst all RS models that are available in the United States, and was first shown off at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Now the pricing for the model has been revealed, with prospecting buyers looking at a starting price of $104,900 USD. The car will be hitting showrooms in the US later this fall.
The Audi RS 7 is an expansion of the A7 model line, and has several bragging points, such as a 0 to 60mph speed of 3.7 seconds and a top speed on the track of 174 mph. Under the hood, the RS 7 has a twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI V8 engine offering 560 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, the vehicle utilizes technology that deactivates cylinders when applicable, improving fuel mileage. With the technology, cylinders number 2, 3, 5, and 8 can have their valves closed by way of electromechanical actuators, something that happens when the RS 7 is run at low/medium speeds and loads. Under the example provided by Audi, running the car in four-cylinder mode causes the mileage to increase by 15-percent. Engine mounts are in place to eliminate vibration changes when the cylinder numbers are changed. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission used alongside an Audi quattro all-wheel drive system. The RS 7 eschews an active noise cancellation system because the “low exhaust frequencies are befitting of an RS model,” says the auto maker. For those who want more noise, however, a sport exhaust option is available as well. As far as design goes, the exterior is available in standard, carbon, and matte aluminum styling, with a Singleframe grille in high-gloss black or aluminum matte, as well as honeycomb grille inserts and auto-dimming, heated, and power-folding side mirrors. The interior, meanwhile, has a three-spoke steering wheel with an RS 7 emblem, as well as Valcona leather sports seats and carbon fiber inlays. SOURCE: Audi 2014 Audi RS 7 U.S. pricing unveiled is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear. © 2005 - 2013, SlashGear. All right reserved.
Delivered in NVIDIA SHIELD is the first full-fledged mobile device crossover into the desktop gaming universe. SHIELD is an Android-based physical gaming controller with its own clamshell hinge-attached display, powered by NVIDIA’s newest mobile processor, stepping up as what the company claims is the world’s most powerful mobile gaming device. With NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 SoC under the hood and the ability to play Android games and stream high-powered PC games from NVIDIA GeForce GTX processor-toting gaming rigs, NVIDIA proves that they’re essentially right on the money.
NVIDIA SHIELD works with a 5-inch “retinal quality” multi-touch LCD display at 1280×720 (294 PPI) resolution. This display sits on a panel which, when closed, protects the majority of SHIELD’s physical controls. This panel swings up on a surprisingly strong hinge – more than strong enough to stay in place no matter the angle.
This hinge connects the device to the larger portion of SHIELD, with essentially everything other than the display and the replaceable, customizable cover (or “Tag”) that attaches behind it. There’s enough bezel around this display’s face that the user can adjust its angle easily, and the touchscreen itself is as responsive as we’ve ever seen a panel be.
SHIELD’s display is straight up excellent. Viewing angles couldn’t be better, brightness is such that you’ll be able to play outside (in the shade), and color accuracy is spot-on. Though we’ll be waiting for the 1080p upgrade in a SHIELD reboot – perhaps – some day down the line, for now this device is more than sharp enough to deliver the definition necessary to do everything a mobile gaming / streaming desktop gaming handheld should be capable of doing.
The speakers on SHIELD are the only mobile-based blasters we’ve heard that come anywhere near what’s delivered with the HTC One. We’d go so far as to say that this machine is the loudest – and best sounding, while being loud – mobile smart device on the market today. SHIELD comes with stereo speakers knocking out custom bass reflex tuned-and-tweaked port audio system that issues forth from the two grilles you see directly below the display.
These speakers make SHIELD vibrate with sound when they’re on full volume. SHIELD being a slightly deeper device than the average smartphone also allows for the speakers to be ported, setting the blasters themselves in enclosures that allow a low end you simply do not hear on a device that’s physically smaller.
SHIELD’s 3.5mm stereo headset / mic jack works perfectly well too. Though you don’t get any fancy branding for the audio components on this system, the results are best-in-class.
The physical controls on this device are truly console-grade, proving to be responsive and in every way ready for the long-haul that is a hardcore gamers’ multi-year device use-cycle. Two joysicks sit below a D-Pad on the left, full-sized ABXY buttons to the right, and a set of five unique buttons in the center.
Below a centered microphone hole near SHIELD’s hinge is a volume button, start button, back button, and home button, these encircling a multi-function SHIELD button – the largest button on the face of the device.
The SHIELD button activates the TegraZone portal: access to optimized Android games as well as streaming PC gaming action. This interface is explored a bit more in the Software section later in this review. For now you should know that this button is always lit up when the device’s display is on unless you turn it off – you can do so in the custom Controller options inside your Android settings inside SHIELD.
This same set of settings allows the user to activate or de-activate their ability to use one of the joysticks as a mouse controller and adjust that pointer speed as well. You can also choose to use the right and left bumpers as volume up/down, and choose to activate or de-activate the LED’s “pulse” function when SHIELD is asleep.
On the back and below SHIELD you’ll find a left and right bumper as well as a left and right analog trigger, these tuned to perfection over the several cycles of hardware we’ve gotten to experience over the past several months – first at CES, then again amid developer festivities at Google I/O 2013 – they just kept getting better. Here in their final form, the triggers and bumpers on SHIELD are not to hard, not too light; they’re just right.
Also on the back of this machine is one of two air vents. As you’ll see in the hands-on hardware exploration, these two vents don’t play host to any wafts of air, by any means, instead simply allowing the system to breath, so to speak, rather than being fully enclosed. We’ve thus far experienced no abnormal amounts of heat emanating from SHIELD.
The back’s microSD card slot is able to work with up to 64GB SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) cards*, and you’ll be connecting to HDMI with a mini-HDMI port. Again you’ll see the single headphone/headset port on the back as well, and right in the center rests a micro-USB port (USB 2.0) for charging and connecting to your PC for any media transfer and/or hacking you may wanting to execute.
*NVIDIA also notes that: “Theoretically, the microSD slot can support up to 2TB SDXC devices if such devices were to exist in the future.”
Inside you’ll also find 802.11n 2×2 MIMO “game-speed” Wi-fi, bringing on the speed capabilities you’ll need to stream games from your gaming rig at home. You’ll also have support for 802.11a/b/g/n as well as every standard 802.11 protocol you could ever want: WEP, WPA, WPA2, PSK, 802.1x EAP.
This device also works with Bluetooth 3.0 and works with A2DP for Bluetooth streaming standard, and you’ve got both 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer motion sensors inside. The whole unit weighs in at 579 grams (1.276 lbs) with a size of 158 mm (W) x 135 mm (D) x 57 mm (H) when closed up and ready to go mobile.
Software / Android Gaming
SHIELD runs on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean (for now), with what’s nearly a vanilla experience up front. NIVIDA ads very few apps to the mix, presenting only their own portal to the TegraZone, a SHIELD Help guide, Hulu+, Twitch.TV, and a pair of games optimized for the device’s unique setup. Included in this game set is Sonic 4 Episode II THD and Expendable: Rearmed.
The non-game apps are each useful in and of themselves – while Hulu+ does require you to have a subscription to watch videos, the rest you can use without any obligation. Twitch.TV allows you to watch gaming and gameplay videos, and the TegraZone is expanded well beyond that of the NVIDIA-optimized game portal you’ll find on other devices.
Above: Real Boxing. Below: Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin
With SHIELD’s implementation of Android, you’re working with what’s both a standard build of Jelly Bean 4.2.1 and a unique set of controls in settings. You’ll be able to move through Android here with SHIELD’s physical controls, flipping back and forth through screens with one joystick or searching through pages with a mouse clicker with the other.
The deepest NVIDIA goes with creating their own UI for SHIELD is in the TegraZone portal. Here TegraZone is integrated into SHIELD, appearing if you tap the TegraZone icon in the device’s app drawer or popping up – and you’ll do this a whole lot more often – with the backlit SHIELD button on the controller’s center.
SHIELD’s TegraZone shows three doors you might walk through – the first leading to a listing of the SHIELD-optimized games you’ve got on your device already. There the games are listed as large app icons and can be launched as they’d be launched from your app drawer or home screen.
Next is the SHIELD Store, this attaching to a series of banner-like images with the titles of the games available to you through Google Play, each of them attached to descriptions and a presentation made to sell you on each of them. As with each of the other bits of the TegraZone here, this set of screens can be navigated with SHIELD’s physical controls or with the machine’s touchscreen interface.
We’ve also just begun to scratch the surface with the odd use-cases for SHIELD, the most entertaining of these being the wireless control of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0. You’ll be getting a multi-angle look at how this is done below – and bear in mind that this beast was running in high-speed wind. Keep your eyes on the display, too.
Finally there’s PC Game Streaming. Though this system is launched in Beta when NVIDIA SHIELD is first hitting the market, you’ll be able to connect to a PC to stream games from a high-powered gaming PC (so long as it has all of NVIDIA’s prerequisites) to this mobile device. What’s displayed on the PC’s screen is essentially mirrored while the physical controls of SHIELD work the same as they would as a more traditional connected or wireless gamepad.
Again though this system is still in Beta mode when SHIELD initially launches, you’ll be able to jump in to a game like Batman: Arkham City and Borderlands 2 with ease. Once you have a PC running on your local Wi-fi network, it’s relatively simple to connect to and sync with SHIELD.
You will need a desktop (notebook GPUs wont work quite yet) with a GeForce GTX 650 or higher GPU, Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz or AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz or higher, and system memory ringing in with at least 4GB. While you’ll be able to work with Windows 7 or Windows 8, you’ll absolutely need to be working with the newest in new GeForce drivers and the GeForce Experience itself.
NVIDIA also suggests you roll with at least an 802.11a/g router, but ideally you’ll be working with a higher-speed 802.11n dual band router. You’ll want as much of that speed as you can get.
While the initial list of games that work with SHIELD instantly (button pairing and everything) is impressive, we centered on a single title here in our initial review: Metro: Last Light.
This game is an in-depth first-person-shooter that expands on the original Metro title, continuing to push you through a desolate war-ridden world full of mutant beasts and human enemies alike. You’ll be relying on retro weapons that need you to pump as well as gas masks to allow you to breathe the poison-filled air.
With SHIELD you get this experience away from the PC, blowing your enemies away with steampunk-style weapons activated by the physical buttons of this otherwise Android-centric machine.
It would appear that the only reason this system remains in Beta, from what we’re able to discern and based on our experience, is that there is (small) amount of latency between the PC and the controller. On the other hand, it would appear that when a button is tapped on the controller, there is little to no delay between that tap and a gunshot.
In other words – it seems as though the system is knocking at the door of a final full release. All it needs is that extra little kick in the pants.
SHIELD is running with an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor. This is a major upgrade from the NVIDIA Tegra 3, the company’s first quad-core mobile processor, running here with the full greatness described earlier this year to us by NVIDIA’s Technical Marketing Director Nick Stam in our SlashGear 101: NVIDIA Tegra 4.
SHIELD works with NVIDIA Tegra 4 clocked at up to 1.9 GHz for each of its 4 CPU cores. This SoC represents the first quad-core application of ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPU core – and there’s a battery-saving fifth core in there as well.
Above: NVIDIA Tegra 4 up close and personal (not necessarily arranged as it would be on the board inside SHIELD) from our hands-on with Tegra 4 and Tegra 4i.
This system works with 72 GPU cores as well, rolling with this processing power alongside 2GB LPDDR3 DRAM. Again, you’ll be accessing 16GB of built-in Flash memory with this device, and you can add an up to 64GB microSD card in its back as well.
Tegra 4 will be appearing on tablets for the most part – if not exclusively – as it’s the NVIDIA Tegra 4i that’s been introduced and designed specifically for smartphones. Tegra 4 paired with a 5-inch display (as we see with SHIELD) will therefor almost certainly be unique to this device, making this the ideal machine to see how powerful this processor can get. What we’ve got here is a sort of perfect storm for benchmark butt-kicking, so to speak.
In synthetic benchmark tests you’ll find SHIELD taking the competition to lunch. Though these tests are by no means perfect tests of how powerful a device really is, there’s no denying here that SHIELD is in a class all its own with Tegra 4.
As it was with Tegra 3, so it is again with Tegra 4: utilizing this device’s 5th “shadow core” for low-power tasks (using PRISM 2 technology), SHIELD is able to conserve its energy at an unprecedented level. When this device is not actively being used, battery drain essentially flatlines. In fact, leaving the device on its own without actively using it has resulted in 2+ days of battery life in our tests – and it’s looking like it could go a whole lot longer as we’re barely under 50% battery.
In use the device does slightly less excellent, knocking out battery life rather quickly if you’re streaming PC games (and reminder, that’s still in Beta), and draining at a rate no worse than we’ve seen with Tegra 3 when playing Android devices.
Because this machine is Wi-fi only, the most major drain on it is going to be its display while it’s awake and Wi-fi while it’s asleep. Turning Wi-fi off will result in an even more flatlined battery draw, and this machine’s display is sharp enough that turning down its brightness wont affect your ability to play all that much.
NVIDIA rates SHIELD at 4-5 hours of gameplay for Tegra 4 optimized games and up to 10 hours for typical Android games, as well as HD quality movie playback at up to 15 hours and music playback at up to 40 hours. We’ve found this to be – in general – fairly accurate (save the music bit, we’ve not yet tried to knock out a 40-hour session). Straight gameplay on an Android tip will result in less than a full day’s battery life, while normal – sporadic – gameplay will get you through multiple days without issue.
This is just the beginning. It’s immediately apparent that SHIELD is capable of doing a lot more than we’re seeing here at launch, and not just in gaming. With wireless projection and this unit’s HDMI out paired with low-latency PC mirroring, wireless controllers turning SHIELD into a console, and untapped potential in abundance inside the processing power of Tegra 4, the possibilities are exciting.
NVIDIA has never released a product like SHIELD before. Judging solely by the attention NVIDIA has given SHIELD in the weeks and months between its announcement and its final release, we’ve no doubt that there’ll be not just software support in the way of Android OS updates, but for accessories and uniquely optimized games as well.
Deciding to engage with NVIDIA SHIELD will be less like purchasing an everyday smartphone or tablet than it will be like picking up the sole hero device sold by a company that up until now – for several years at least – has been building a software and hardware ecosystem to support it. This is a moment in NVIDIA’s history you’ll want to be a part of.
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NVIDIA SHIELD Review is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
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