Category: Featured (page 1 of 112)

CES 2016: New 8K Television

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The Consumer Electronics Show of 2016 introduced many exciting new television sets. You have probably heard about the 4K televisions that were introduced by numerous electronics companies, such as Sony. But what LG introduced at the CES was something that nobody expected; the 8K television set. That’s right this is a 98-inch television by LG that is about double the size of the best selling televisions out today. It also has an 8K display, which means it has even better resolution than the ultra high definition 4K televisions that are out now.

Quadrupling the number of pixels was no easy task for LG, which is probably why it is such a big television set. As for the price, it is probably not going to be in the average consumers’ price range. LG currently has another 98-inch television that has 4K resolution, which is priced at $40,000. The only 8K television out right now is from Sharp. They have an 85-inch television in 8K resolution that sells for $130,000. Most people probably couldn’t fit a television like this in their living room anyways. Unless you have a mansion and a million dollars in the bank, you probably won’t be able to afford this.

For those who are still willing to spend under $10,000 for a television, you can purchase the Samsung 4K 85-inch television for just under $9,000. LG also has a 79-inch 4K television set for $6,000. You can find these televisions at big retail stores like Best Buy. Of course, if you are going to enjoy 4K, or 8K, resolution, then you need to be watching content made for this kind of display. You can’t just turn on the television or pop in a Blu-ray disc and expect the quality to be 4K or 8K. The content has to be made for that quality or else it will show in lesser resolution.

If you are more interested in ultra thin televisions then you should try LG’s G6. The company refers to it as “picture on a glass” because it is basically like hanging a picture frame on the wall and watching television from it. With a thickness of 2.57 millimeters, the television almost disappears when you look at it from the side. There is no price yet on this television, but it will have sizes that go all the way up to 77 inches. So it will be interesting to see if consumers prefer the ultra thin computer or the super ultra high definition computer. The price is likely to be the deciding factor here.

Is Google Not Working on Constructing Smart Homes Anymore?

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At the Consumer Electronics Show last year, products were introduced that would integrate with Apple’s smart home platform. These smart products included light bulb adapters, power outlets, door locks and more. Google announced similar innovations in smart home technology last year as well. This got consumers excited and craving for updates on this technology at this year’s electronics show. Unfortunately, there weren’t many people talking about Google’s smart home system; nicknamed Brillo and Weave. At the 2016 CES, there were some smart products from this system shown like the security camera, printer, oven, scanner, speaker, door locks and light bulbs. These products were manufactured by big named tech company partners, like Philips, LG Asus and HP.

LG is actually the biggest partner of Google’s smart home system. They had a washer and dryer, air conditioner, security camera, wireless speakers and a refrigerator on display at the CES. So what’s the problem? Well there was no mention from Google or its tech partners about when these items will be released or what the progress is on their development. During LG’s press conference, Brillo and Weave were talked about for three minutes by Google’s Vice President. But there were no specifics on the new platform.

Just so you understand, Brillo is the software that gets programmed into these smart devices. It is basically like the operating system of them which is similar to how Android is an operating system to smartphones. As for Weave, this is the special programming language that allows the various smart devices to speak to one another. What is interesting is that devices don’t need to have Brillo installed in them in order to speak Weave to each other. This makes Weave the most important programming feature of these smart devices. In fact, it can even help these devices to communicate with apps for your smartphone, whether they are iOS apps or Android apps.

Perhaps, Google is focusing on other projects at the moment and hasn’t made any new advancement with Brillo and Weave. Either that or they may be looking to create something that will blow people away. You should check back at next year’s CES to see if Google introduces updates on this awesome smart home system. Since smart technology is growing to all types of products, it is safe to say that smart devices for homes will gain more attention sooner or later as they become more developed and tested.

Hands on with the Samsung S2 smartwatch

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At a recent IFA Conference that was held in Berlin, Samsung unveiled its new Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. As most people know, Samsung’s line of smartwatches has been a fierce competitor to the Apple Watch. The Gear S2 features a watch face with a round display, which is different than the original Gear watch that had a rectangular display. Consumers get to choose between two versions of the Gear S2; a classic leather banded watch or a sporty looking watch. The leather band of the classic version can be swapped out with the bands of other Samsung watches by using the quick release mechanism built in. You can choose between black, silver or dark gray colors for the Gear S2. But the cosmetic features of the Gear S2 aren’t even the best part about it. The watch will be able to connect to a 3G network, which means it doesn’t have to rely on mobile phones in order to function properly. This also means it can make phone calls and it can utilize the functions of Samsung Pay. The watch has a 1.2 inch display screen with a pixel resolution of 360 x360. The watch itself is 11.4 millimeters thick, which makes it big but not too bulky. Therefore it should be comfortable on your wrist. 

The Gear S2 runs on an open source operating system called Tizen. Samsung helped develop this operating system in order to separate itself from the Android operating system. After all, it would cut into their profits if they had to pay Google for the use of their operating system in each watch that they sold. By Samsung using their own operating system, it will save them more money in the long run. It will also give consumers a unique user experience when they operate the watch. Instead of being forced to scroll the screen with your finger, you can also rotate the bezel around to navigate through the watch. The bezel moves around the watch face very easily, but there is still a little resistance. However, if you still prefer to swipe the watch face to navigate then you little resistance. However, if you still prefer to swipe the watch face to navigate then you can always exercise that option as well. 

With so many options and over 1,000 apps to choose from, it is looking like the Gear S2 will be a big seller when it comes out next month. The preorders for the watch have already sold out. These were priced at €349 in the United Kingdom, so Samsung seems to be dominating the smartwatch market right now.

Google and Partner Bring New Technology to Android Phones

GadgetMix1The search engine giant Google is partnering up with semiconductor chip giant Intel to bring depth sensing technology to Google’s Android smartphones. Intel showcased many of its new products recently at the Intel Developer Forum that was held in San Francisco. Intel introduced their Project Tango Developer Kit to the spectators, which the company has been collaborating on with Google. This developer kit will be integrated into Android smartphones along with its RealSense technology. This technology will give app developers the chance to develop depth sensing software powered by the developer kit. Users will be able to create apps that can perform indoor navigation, virtual reality, 3D scanning, area learning and much more. 

Intel announced that the developer kit is scheduled to be released at the end of the year for selected Android developers only. These developers are going to be testing the developer kit and will likely provide feedback to Intel and Google. The developer kit will eventually be released to the main public once all the bugs and glitches are worked out from the test run. Google has already put a Project Tango tablet for sale at a price of $512. You can purchase it at the Google Store. However, people are more excited to have this technology brought to Android smartphones because those mobile devices are more popular than tablets. 

Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, had showed off a prototype of the Android smartphone developer kit. The device has several cameras on the backside, which makes it the perfect device for scanning objects in 3D. If you are an architect or someone getting involved in 3D printing, this 3D scanner could be just what you are looking for. Imagine being able to create blueprints in 3D using the scanner and then transferring those scanned images to a 3D printer that can turn them into a physical scale model. This would save so much time and money from having to create the model yourself. 

The Advanced Technology and Projects division of Google is overseeing Project Tango. Google is planning to bring Qualcomm in on the action by using their Snapdragon 810 processor in Project Tango. It will work in conjunction with the 3d motion tracking that will eventually be developed for Project Tango. The results will be phenomenal with the collaboration of all these great tech companies. Both professional and novice Android app developers will be very interested in getting this kit when it becomes mainstream.

How Tile Went from Crowdfunding to 2M Units Sold in Two Years

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There is a new gadget currently in development called “Tile.” It is a small white object that is about the size of a poker chip, which means it can fit into virtually anywhere. You can put it in your wallet, purse, key ring or any small object that you would likely lose. Tile is basically a tracking device that a spy would use if they wanted to follow somebody. But what you can do is put the gadget in something that you would normally lose. That way if you do lose it you can find where your item is by using your smartphone to track the Tile gadget. However, this won’t have long range capabilities. It will utilize Bluetooth technology, which is a short distance wireless technology. Basically what you do is install the Tile app on your smartphone and use that to find whatever object the Tile gadget is connected to nearby. The app will tell you the last place the gadget was tracked, which will help if you don’t remember the last place you used the item. Then when you go to look for the item, the gadget attached to it will make beeping noises that you can hear.

Now you might be wondering what would happen if you were to leave your keys or other personal items on a park bench or coffee shop? How would Bluetooth technology help you then? Well what happens is the Tile gadget keeps communicating with the app on your phone. Then as soon as you step far enough away from the Tile gadget, the app will mark it as “lost.” It will also upload the location of the Tile gadget to cloud servers hosted by the company. Then it will communicate this location back to the owner, so they will see the last place the gadget was tracked.

 

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Tile had originally run a crowdfunding campaign on Selfstarter and through its own website. They eventually ended up completing the project from the donations and later sold two million units of the gadget. Seeing how Tile only planned to create 20,000 units, the vast amount of interest in this gadget was even a shock to the developers. But it proves that there is a big market for objects like this because people are always losing things like their keys and wallet. Tile will finally put these situations to rest by allowing people to track their location and not go crazy over trying to find them. At only $25 per unit, Tile will continue to be a huge seller in the years to come.

 

 

 

5 App Games Made For Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality gaming is about to arrive in a big way, and there are tons of discussions going on about what the best gaming genres will be. But in these discussions people tend to think big, looking at the most significant existing console games and imagining them in VR form. This is probably the right way to go about it, but it’s also important to remember that the first generation of in-home VR games might be a little bit simpler than some are imagining. And with that in mind, one might wonder if app games might actually serve as better foundations for VR than console experiences that are already so big as to be totally immersive.

Gaming in general thrives on detail these days. On mobile devices, PCs and consoles alike, players appreciate big beautiful environments and realistic 3D graphics. The difference is that, on consoles, such environments are about as satisfying as they need to be, and it’s easy to imagine a sort of clunkiness to them in the early transformations to VR. Beautiful app games, however, are small and limited by nature, almost automatically making us long for more. Super-sizing a popular app game and turning it into a VR experience may be a better way to please a lot of gamers.

Whether or not this will happen on a large scale remains to be seen, but in the meantime here are a few popular app titles that illustrate the point across different genres.

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It’s one of the longest-running popular apps available, and it’s always been almost amazingly simple. Fruit flies up in the air, and you cut it up with a swipe of your finger. So why not do it with a VR headset on and more of an actual knife-swiping motion? This has actually already been attempted; an article at PC World revealed efforts by German University students to rig up their own VR version of Fruit Ninja, and it appears the results were satisfying. This would be a nice, simple game for VR developers to start out with.

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It’s been suggested that racing games could be some of the most successful titles on VR.  Wareable’s look ahead at the next year of VR game releases pointed to a couple racing games that are apparently on the way. However, it might just be simpler for developers to adapt an existing game. Real Racing 3 is an incredibly realistic and detailed game for a something that’s played on phones and tablets, and could do wonderfully if it were simply scaled up.

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The trouble with a lot of ambitious VR games is that movement is tricky. An environment can look stunning and real, but it’s tough to interact with it in a way that feels natural. That’s precisely why the casino gaming genre could do well—it requires minimal movement. There actually aren’t too many ready-made casino games featuring a legitimate variety of options, but the array of games at Betfair makes for an intriguing VR concept. Interacting with a full-scale casino (as opposed to just a single poker table or something of the like) could make for a deceptively big VR experience.

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Inevitably there will be plenty of shooters and adventure games released on VR, even if movement within them is at first difficult and unfamiliar. But the recently released Galaxy Of Heroes game could make for a smooth transition toward VR shooters.   EA describes this game as having  an “epic RPG-style combat,” which just seems brilliant for VR. An RPG can be more turn-based, meaning you can enjoy the realistic look of having someone shooting at you without having to figure out how to move around while your face is masked in a headset and your body is on your couch. Not to mention, given the Star Wars resurgence, this particular RPG title would undoubtedly be popular.

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This game might be cheating a bit, because it was actually designed specifically for a VR headset. Well, sort of.  Proton Pulse was designed for Google Cardboard play, meaning it’s a phone app that can be slotted into Google’s VR goggles and enjoyed as if it’s a full-fledged VR experience. Still, it’s probably the best existing example of how easily some app games can be transformed into this new genre of gaming. The game itself is basically a 3D brick buster.

Who knows if we’ll ever see these particular titles turned into VR games. But it’s easy to see how some simpler concepts could work better than full-blown shooter and adventure games.

Apple Music Can’t Be Deleted

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When you buy an Apple smartphone you will notice it comes with lots of preloaded apps and music. Apple Music is a preloaded app that comes with new smartphones, which some people like and some people don’t. But the annoying thing is that you cannot delete Apple Music off of your phone. Many consumers feel that Apple should let iPhone users delete any app they want, even the preloaded ones. A little while back there was another massive series of complaints similar to this one about the mandatory iOS update that put the Watch app onto people’s iPhones. The Watch app is specifically designed to work with the Apple Watch, which is a separate device that not everybody owns or wants to own. This didn’t matter though because all the iPhone users were forced to receive this app on their phone. Many felt it was Apple’s way of promoting their smartwatch to iPhone users, so they would go out and purchase it. Whether this is true or not, users feel they should have the right to choose which apps they have on their phone. Right now they are only able to place these apps in the “Junk Drawer,” but the problem is this junk drawer can fill up fast and it still takes up memory on your phone.

So what is Apple’s agenda with making people have Apple Music on their phone? Some critics claim it is Apple’s way of keeping mobile users loyal to everything that is Apple. For example, Apple Music and Apple Maps are the alternatives to Spotify and Google Maps. Even though iPhone users have the freedom to download Google Maps and Spotify apps, Apple may not want their consumers using major apps made by other companies. They want to keep everything Apple, so that consumers stay loyal to the company in every respect. In other words, Apple can dominate the app marketplace by forcing their iPhone users to keep Apple apps of all kinds on their phone. The problem here is that many users of these apps do not like them. Apple Maps is a perfect example because it got terrible reviews by Apple users when it was released back in 2012. So why should people be forced to keep it on their phone if they don’t like it? Hopefully, Apple will hear these complaints from consumers and do something about it in the future. Perhaps they will release another iOS update that allows people to delete these apps. Users shouldn’t have to wait for a new iPhone release to do this simple task.

Drum Sensor Helps You Play Digital Beats On Analog Skins

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We live in the age of digital music and instrumentation. People no longer have to learn how to play the guitar or the drums because they can just generate the sounds through software and other electronic devices. Drum machines are basically electronic drums that will add drum sounds into your music without actually having to play the physical drums. This is great for people who do not know how to play instruments in real life, but still want to create their own music. However, there is a quality missing from digital drum sounds that you can only hear by beating on the calfskins of a real drum set. The detail and intuitiveness is just not there with digital music like it is with old school skins. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the positive elements of both?

The music tech company Sunhouse is crowdfunding their new drum sensory technology called Sensory Percussion. This is a sensor that will turn acoustic drum sounds into digital beats. All you have to do is attach the add-on device to your physical drums and start playing on them. The device will recognize the styles you are playing and save the beats into digital format. This will help you create beats that are rarely heard in studios or live concerts. If you are into creating music with drums then this technology is definitely worth purchasing. But be prepared to pay over a thousand dollars for this device. If you place a pledge of about $600 on this unit then you will get a single Sensory Percussion device after it gets developed. The downside is that one unit can only go on one drum. A full drum kit will have at least two drums, which means it will cost $1200 for two units. Luckily the hardware for these units is easy to ship, but it won’t be shipping until January of next year. All the drummers out there will just have to wait for the New Year before they add electronic music to the sounds of their band. Some people are disappointed because they wanted to have this sound for their summer festivals. But remember, all good things will come to those who wait. This technology is still in the development phase, so you’ll want it to produce the best quality sounds for you. By the time January comes along, it will be well worth the wait.

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