Consumer Reports Tests Apple Watch for Readability, Water Resistance, Fitness Tracking and More [iOS Blog]
Consumer Reports has crowned the Apple Watch as its top-rated smartwatch in its test of 11 smartwatch models from eight manufacturers, including the Asus ZenWatch, LG G Watch R, Moto 360, Pebble Steel, Samsung Gear S and Sony SmartWatch 3. The not-for-profit organization tested the Apple Watch and competing devices for step count accuracy, screen readability, ease of use, scratch resistance, water resistance, heart rate tracking and more.
In particular, the stainless steel Apple Watch scored the highest among the smartwatches tested because of its high readability in bright and low light, ease of use, ease of pairing with an iPhone, durable scratch resistance, IPX7 water resistance rating and accurate heart rate and step count tracking. Meanwhile, the Sony SmartWatch 3 finished at the bottom of the rankings, primarily because it failed the 24-hour water immersion test.
Apple yesterday gave a few interesting details on something it’s calling “Applebot“, the company’s in-house web crawler that is used to help power services like Siri and Spotlight on iOS and OS X platforms (via Apple Insider).
In the past, Apple has partnered with companies like Google and Bing to provide search results in a few of its own products like Siri, but this week’s news could be an additional hint at Apple introducing its own complete search platform in the future. Most recently, in early February, a job listing provided more fuel to a rumor that the Cupertino company was doing just that, although it was likely to be describing ongoing efforts to improve Spotlight and was never legitimized.
What we now know as Applebot was first spotted by developer Jan Moesen last November, who discovered numerous web hits from a crawler indexing from a block detailed to be 126.96.36.199/8, an IP address block owned and operated wholly by Apple. This, coupled with the impending termination of a contract between Apple and Google for a Safari search engine deal, began fueling rumors of Apple’s own dedicated web engine.
The confirmation of Applebot is the closest the company has come to speaking directly on the subject, but it is still unclear whether the web crawler is setting up to be the basis for an Apple-branded search engine, or simply acting as more support for third-party search platforms when running Apple’s Siri and Spotlight services.
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Grim Fandango is one of those old games that plenty of gamers hold dear in their hearts, so it was pleasantly surprising to hear that the game is making a comeback with a version on Android (and iOS). Grim Fandango Remastered is on Android now and its actually a pretty decent remaster effort (rather than the standard port) with new higher resolution textures and an improved soundtrack. All of that sounds great, until you get to the price – $9.99. And that’s already 33% off, a launch discount that will just last this week.
Of course, for fans of developer Double Fine and Grim Fandango, it’s a small price to pay, but for those who never had the chance to play the game might find the pricing a little prohibitive at the moment. Still, it’s looking great, and if you’re interested to know how real adventure games were made back in the day, ones that are still remembered as the best of their time, then maybe you should pick up Grim Fandango today. Hit the link below if you’re interested.
Let us know your thoughts about Grim Fandango Remastered in the comments below.
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Nvidia bought UK-based Icera in 2011 for $367 million, at a time when the Santa Clara-based chipmaker was pushing hard to get into mobile. Icera developed baseband technology, with a strong focus on software modems that allowed one programmable chip to work with multiple wireless standards. At the time, Nvidia was attempting to get its Tegra line of SoCs for smartphones and tablets off the ground, and the integration of Icera was believed to be an answer to Qualcomm’s highly successful mobile chips with integrated LTE.
Since 2011, Tegra mobile SoCs have scored precious few design wins, with the most notable recent one being the Tegra K1-powered Nexus 9. Icera modems have found their way into even fewer devices. Nvidia, as a whole, has changed, shifting focus towards automotive, deep learning, and cloud computing applications, leaving mobile behind.
Nvidia said it would end Icera operations by the second quarter of fiscal year 2016, and that it’s open to selling Icera technology or the entire company.
Nvidia is not giving up on mobile just yet. The company said it will continue to use Icera technology over the next year, and after that, it will use baseband chips from partners (i.e. Qualcomm) for its wireless connectivity necessities. However, this is another sign that the days when Nvidia was betting the house on mobile chips are over.
Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra has mentioned that the company is fundamentally against using microSD card slots for its high performance devices. This comes as none of the high end Xiaomi phones sport microSD card slots, while the Redmi series are microSD compatible.
He mentions that the reason behind not using it is the same reason most manufacturers are against it. He was also certain that SD cards (on phones) will eventually disappear as manufacturers look to rely more on the default storage.
MicroSD card slots are an attractive selling point on midrange devices as they don’t have a lot of internal storage to begin with, but many Android OEMs have decided to go the other way as Xiaomi rightly points out.
Here’s what Barra had to say about the use of microSD cards – “You think you’re buying like a Kingston or a SanDisk but you’re actually not, and they’re extremely poor quality, they’re slow, they sometimes just stop working, and it gives people huge number of issues, apps crashing all the time, users losing data, a lot of basically complaints and customer frustration. It’s gonna be a while before you finally accept that maybe the reason why it’s not performing is because you put in an SD card, right? You’re gonna blame the phone, you’re gonna blame the manufacturer, you’re gonna shout and scream and try to get it fixed, so many different ways until you say, ‘Actually, let me just take the SD card out and see what happens.’”
Come comment on this article: Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra mentions why the company is against microSD cards for its phones
The Xiaomi Mi 4i smartphone will land in Hong Kong and Singapore starting May 12. The device is only available in India at the moment with the company promising to expand availability to other regions soon. So it’s good to see that the company is living up to its promise.
The company initially mentioned that the Mi 4i would launch globally, but as of now, the device hasn’t made its way out of Asia. Hopefully, the company will change that in the coming weeks.
The Mi 4i will be available for purchase with a price tag of $205 in Hong Kong and $210 in Singapore, which is pretty reasonable given the hardware on offer.
The Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with a 5 inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera on the back, a 5-megapixel front camera, a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 octa core SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, Android 5.0 Lollipop, a 3,120 mAh battery and LTE connectivity.
Come comment on this article: Xiaomi Mi 4i to break cover in Singapore and Hong Kong on May 12
Sony unveils the selfie-centric Xperia C4 with 5.5-inch Full HD display and 5MP wide-angle front camera with flash
It wasn’t too long ago that the Sony’s successor to the selfie-centric Xperia C3 was first seen, and now it’s official. Sony has taken the cover off its Xperia C4 smartphone that is once again aimed to take advantage of the selfie craze.
We’ll get to the rest of the specifications in a moment, but let’s discuss the C4’s main claim to fame, the front camera that boasts a soft LED flash. That’s right, the C4 not only has a LED flash to complement its rear camera, it also has one on the front so that you can take better quality selfies. After all, no one likes a dull selfie, am I right? Needless to say, these higher quality selfies deserve to have their own special name, and what could be better than to call them PROselfies? The front facing camera also has a 25mm wide-angle lens with an 80-degree field of view, helping you to capture your crowd of besties in the (PRO)selfie.
Rest of the specifications:
- 5.5-Inch Full HD IPS display (1920 x 1080)
- Octa-core MediaTek MTK6752 processor @1.7GHz (64-bit)
- Mali 760 MP2 GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB Internal Storage
- MicroSD card support (up to 128GB)
- 13MP Rear-facing camera with flash, AutoFocus and Image stabilizer
- 5MP Front-facing camera with 25mm wide-angle lens and flash
- Dimensions: 150.3 x 77.4 x 7.9mm
- Weight: 147 grams
- Battery: 2,600mAh
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- Durability: Scratch-resistant
The Xperia C4 supports LTE in selected markets only, and although a dual-SIM version will also be available, it will no doubt only be sold in selected markets. The handset can be had in White, black and mint colours from June 2015. Sony hasn’t released any details on pricing at the time of writing. What do you think? Is the Xperia C4, with its 5.5-inch display, 5MP (PRO)selfie camera and front-facing flash, the phone for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Full Press Release:
Sony launches next generation “selfie smartphone” – Xperia™ C4
Capture your best selfies with a high-quality 5MP front camera and a raft of fun Xperia camera apps
Enjoy your entertainment to the fullest with a large 5.5” Full HD screen powered by Sony’s BRAVIA® TV technologies
Super-fast Octa-core processor makes multi-tasking easy, without running out of power
London, 6th May 2015 – The selfie phenomenon is about to kick up a notch with the introduction of Xperia™ C4 – Sony’s next generation PROselfie smartphone, featuring a best in class 5MP front camera, a Full HD display and superior performance.
“Following the success of Xperia C3, we are proud to introduce Sony’s evolved PROselfie smartphone,” said Tony McNulty, Vice-President, Value Category Business Management at Sony Mobile Communications. “Xperia C4 caters to consumers that want a smartphone that not only takes great photos, but also packs a punch. Benefiting from Sony’s camera expertise, the 5MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens lets you capture perfect selfies, while its quality display and performance features provide an all-round advanced smartphone experience.”
We all like a high-profile selfie – so go ahead and get snapping:
You can now stage the perfect selfie, getting everything – and everyone – in shot, thanks to the powerful 5MP front camera with 25mm wide-angle lens. Sony’s Exmor RTM for mobile sensor, soft LED flash and HDR features means the pictures will always be stunning, even in those ‘hard to perfect’ low light conditions.
Superior auto automatically optimises settings to give you the best possible picture and SteadyShot™ technology compensates for any camera shake. With 13MP, autofocus and HDR packed in there is no compromise on the rear camera, which delivers great shots for those rare moments you’re not in the picture.
You will also be able to get even more fun out of your smartphone with a suite of creative camera apps such as Style portrait with styles including ‘vampire’ and ‘mystery’ to add a unique edge to your selfie. Moreover, apps such as AR mask give your selfie a twist by letting you place a different face over your own face or others’ faces while you snap a selfie.
Experience your entertainment in Full HD.
Now you can enjoy every picture and every video in detail with Xperia C4’s 5.5” Full HD display. Watching movies on your smartphone is more enjoyable thanks to Sony’s TV technology – such as Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2 and super vivid-mode – which offers amazing clarity and colour brightness. Enjoy viewing from any angle with IPS technology.
Great video deserves great audio to match, so Xperia C4 features Sony’s audio expertise to deliver crisp and clear audio quality. With or without headphones, you can sit back and enjoy your favourite entertainment in all its glory.
The design of Xperia C4 has also been crafted with precise detail and care to ensure every aspect amplifies the sharp and vivid display. A minimal frame around the scratch-resistant screen enhances both the viewing experience and the smartphone design, while its lightweight build feels comfortable in the hand. Xperia C4 comes in a choice of white, black and a vibrant mint.
Superior performance, with a power-packed battery that just keeps going
Whether you’re running multiple apps, checking Facebook, snapping selfies or listening to the best music – you can do it all at lighting speed thanks to Xperia C4’s impressive Octa-core processor. Powered by an efficient 64-bit Octa-core processor, Xperia C4 makes it easier than ever to multitask and switch between your favourite apps, without affecting performance. Ultra-fast connectivity with 4G capabilities means it’s quicker than ever to download your favourite audio or video content and surf the web without lag.
The large battery (2,600mAh) provides over eight hours of video viewing time, meaning that the entire first season of Breaking Bad can be binged uninterrupted, while Battery STAMINA Mode 5.0 ensures you have complete control over how your battery is used.
Xperia C4 is compatible with more than 195 Sony NFC-enabled devices including SmartBand Talk (SWR30) and Stereo Bluetooth® Headset (SBH60).
You can also customise the smartphone with the protective desk-stand SCR15 Cover or with a full range of original Made for Xperia covers.
Xperia C4 will be available in Single SIM and Dual SIM in select markets from the beginning of June 2015.
Come comment on this article: Sony unveils the selfie-centric Xperia C4 with 5.5-inch Full HD display and 5MP wide-angle front camera with flash
Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro smartphones in January, with the former hitting the markets some weeks ago. The company has now formally brought the Mi Note Pro to the markets as well, starting with China.
This is a specs powerhouse for those unaware and features 4GB of RAM, a Quad HD display and a Snapdragon 810 SoC which may or may not face overheating issues. Xiaomi is using a 5.7 inch panel here, so it can be compared with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which also has the same display size and resolution.
The handset comes with a 13-megapixel camera on the back and is accompanied by a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology is built in which assures that the phone’s 3,000 mAh battery is charged in no time. We’ve also seen this technology on the Nexus 6, Droid Turbo and other recently launched devices. The Mi Note Pro will be sold in Black, White and Gold variants.
The Mi Note Pro is also one of the very few smartphones that support LTE Cat.9 networks. The handset will cost ¥3299 ($532) when it is made available in China and we hope to see it reaching the global markets as well. The Mi Note Pro seems to be an absolute steal considering the hardware on board as well as the pricing. But unfortunately for those living outside Asia, the wait for the Mi Note Pro might be too long.
Come comment on this article: Xiaomi Mi Note Pro smartphone goes official with S810 chipset, 4GB RAM, 2K display and more
Quarter one 2016. It’s the answer to a question we’ve asked basically every time we’ve spoken with Oculus VR since 2012: “When does the consumer version of the Rift come out?” Aside from that revelation, we’re also getting our first look at the final design of the headset, but that’s it! No word on price or launch games, experiences or Facebook apps, either. Come to think of it, “no” probably fits as an answer to any other question you might have at this point. Oculus teased that they’ll have more to share soon, specifically hinting at June’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3), but for now we’ll just have to make do with these morsels. If Sony hoped to have early 2016 to itself in terms of VR for the masses with Project Morpheus, those dreams have effectively been dashed.
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The classic point-and-click adventure Grim Fandango has made its way to iOS and Android. Originally released by LucasArts, Grim Fandango was remastered by creator Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions for PlayStation 4, Vita, PC, Mac and Linux earlier this year. Unlike many mobile ports of traditional games, Grim Fandango‘s point-and-click gameplay should lend itself to extended plays on iPad and Android tablets quite nicely, although playing on smaller phones may prove problematic. The mobile version of the critically acclaimed game includes the re-release’s improved graphics and audio along with additional features like an optional director’s commentary.
Grim Fandango is priced at $9.99 in both Google Play and Apple’s App Store for one week only, after which it’ll be sold at $14.99. If you don’t have that kind of equipment but are still keen to play it, Double Fine is applying the same 33% discount to the game on both Steam and the PlayStation Store.