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24
Aug

PowerVision PowerEgg Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


It’s very difficult to say “PowerEgg” and not smile or giggle, and that’s sort of the point.

Robotics company PowerVision was looking for a drone design that is friendly and approachable and not intimidating to anyone — and the result is the PowerEgg. When closed up, it looks like a giant shiny white egg, roughly the size of a rugby ball. Press a button to drop its legs, pull up each of its four propeller arms and it’s transformed into, well, a flying egg. A 4.6-pound (2 kg) one at that.

Under a cap on the bottom is the PowerEgg’s 4K-resolution camera on a 3-axis motorized gimbal that, once flying, is completely unobstructed and can rotate 360 degrees. The quad’s visual positioning system is then also uncovered, to assist with indoor flying up to 13 feet (4 m) above the ground.

PowerVision PowerEgg is not your ordinary…
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When flying outside, the drone relies on GPS to keep it stable and to assist with a handful of automated shooting modes. Included are a Follow Me mode that tracks the moves of the controller, another that orbits a subject, one for waypoint navigation and one for selfies.

Those things aren’t unique to the PowerEgg, but the drone’s controller is. PowerVision made it modular by breaking out the flight processor and base station into a separate unit. Bundled with the quadcopter is a fairly typical gaming-style two-stick controller as well as the one-handed, gesture-based PowerEgg Maestro. The Maestro basically lets you point to where you want the drone to fly and it follows.

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The Maestro controller lets you use gestures to guide the PowerEgg where you want it to fly.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The drone is capable of delivering real-time video transmission up to 3.1 miles (5 km) to a smartphone or tablet (Android or iOS). The battery, which loads vertically in the top, has a maximum flight time of approximately 23 minutes, which is disappointing but understandable given the drone’s weight and size.

The PowerEgg can be ordered now for $1,288 (approximately AU$1,700 or £975) through the PowerVision site, but won’t ship till October. That price gets you the drone, the Maestro and two-stick controllers, a battery, a charger and a light-up base station that does nothing more than display your PowerEgg. If you order before the end of September you get a backpack for everything, too.

We did see the PowerEgg in action, and it did manage to take off and land on its own and fly around a loft space if nothing else. We didn’t get to see any video off the camera, so I can’t say what the quality is like. Or how it will behave outside. The price seems too high to me, given how much competition is out there. However, it does offer a couple interesting features, such as its rotating camera and modular controller, and a distinctive design that is made for travel and starting conversations.

24
Aug

Dexmo exoskeleton glove lets you touch and feel in VR


As much as we enjoy virtual reality these days, there’s still the occasional urge to fiddle with virtual objects using just our hands. If all goes well, the upcoming Manus VR glove will be the first to unwrap our hands from controllers, but it’ll only provide tactile feedback, meaning you still won’t be able to feel the shape nor physical properties of virtual objects. This is where Dexmo comes in: This mechanical exoskeleton glove tracks 11 degrees of freedom of motion and offers variable force feedback for each finger. To put it simply, you’ll be able to realistically squeeze a rubber duck in the VR world. Better yet, this seemingly clunky glove claim to be lightweight and also runs wirelessly “for a relatively long time.”

Dexta Robotics, the Chinese startup behind Dexmo, has spent the last two years coming up with over 20 prototypes before getting to the current version. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, it’ll be a while before we can get our hands on this device. CEO Aler Gu told Engadget that he’s only made a batch of Dexmo and is currently seeking keen software developers plus VR/MR (mixed reality) market leaders who can take full advantage of his gear, before he eventually takes it to market — be it for gaming, education, medical or training.

“Selling Dexmo is different than selling consumer electronics because you can’t use Dexmo right out of the box,” Gu added. “It will take some really amazing content for people to realize how gaming-changing this innovation actually is.”

Little else is known about the Dexmo at the moment — no date nor price just yet. However, with Valve now opening up the HTC Vive’s trackers to third-party peripherals, we can already imagine how much more awesome VR will be courtesy of these futuristic gloves. Some day we’ll look back and think, VR was so lame when we only had controllers.

Source: Dexta Robotics

24
Aug

Australian Retailers Back Banks’ Right to Negotiate With Apple


Australian retail giant Coles, the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), and the Australian Retailers Association have all expressed their support to allow some of the country’s banks to collectively negotiate with Apple over access to its NFC-based digital payment technology (via ZDNEt).

Last month, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac lodged a joint application with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to negotiate with Apple because they want to be able to use digital wallets they have already financed and developed, rather than be tied into using just Apple Pay.

Apple lambasted the banks over the application, and last week the request was denied by the ACCC to give the antitrust regulator more time to consult and consider the views of all the parties involved.

However, in a letter of support sent to the ACCC, retailer Coles argued that giving the banks the ability to negotiate with Apple will enhance the experience for customers, as well as improve the transparency of costs related to credit card processing fees.

We believe the ability to tailor solutions for customers and provide them with greater value should be the driver for customer choice and not a technical lockout that many consumers may not have realized would be imposed when they purchased their mobile device.

The APCA also backed the banks, claiming enabling them to negotiate will encourage greater innovation and enhance competition in the payments markets, and ultimately deliver benefits to consumers and merchants.

“We consider that the exclusivity and restrictions on access to platforms and functionality, by contrast, may tend to stifle innovation and competition,” it said.

Meanwhile, retail body ARA argued that if Apple allowed the banks to put their mobile banking apps onto the iPhone, it would give consumers the option to choose.

“We would like to see all customers have a choice of mobile wallets and payment services using the mobile phone they already have and the bank debit and credit cards and loyalty cards they already use,” the ARA wrote.

PayPal also wrote to the ACCC, but rather than endorsing the banks’ request for negotiations, it said the original application’s definition of “mobile wallet” was too broad. The digital payments giant also wrote that the APCA’s voluntary Third Party Digital Wallet Security Industry Guidelines should not be mandated without open discussions on standards.

Apple’s opinion on the matter remained the same: the company believes the original application shows the banks want to maintain complete control over their customers and blunt Apple’s entry into the Australian market.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia
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24
Aug

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: The ultimate fast, all-weather estate


It is sometimes said that a Volkswagen Golf is the car for everyone. But who is everyone? There’s now an electric Golf and a hybrid Golf in among the regular diesel and petrol Golfs, plus a powerful diesel one and a powerful petrol one.

But which powerful petrol Golf? The answer to that question used to be easy – it was called a Golf GTi, and in the latest seventh generation hatchback bodyshell it’s a very fine drive indeed. But in a world of hot hatches that sport as much power as a two-generation-old Ferrari, VW needed something more than a GTi. Step forward the Golf R.

We’ve driven the hatchback Golf R briefly, and liked it a lot. But what if your spatial needs extend a bit beyond a regular 5-door family hatch? Then a Golf estate could be the perfect answer. Thing was, up until recently, if you wanted a Golf estate with much engine power you were rather stuck. But now Volkswagen has put a rocket under the estate version of the car for everyone, by creating the Golf R Estate.

Never mind a car for everyone, the Golf R Estate has the makings of all the car you will ever need.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: Body shaping mix

The R Estate’s mixture is simple enough. Take one regular 5-door Golf – with all that’s great about that. Extend the roofline and the rear overhang until you’ve created a massive boot with a 605-litre volume, seats up. Drop the 296bhp, 2.0 TSI engine from the Golf R hatch under the bonnet, and channel power to the road through a 4motion, four-wheel drive system. Mediate the power through a standard 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The result? A very quick way to make your labrador vomit all over the inside of the rear screen.

Pocket-lint

It’s just a pity that the elegantly evolved, sharp-looking Golf hatch doesn’t quite translate into estate car format. It lacks the sleekness of the sports wagons from the class above – the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3-Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class, which start at a similar price. But here’s the rub: the Golf has more boot space than any of them, and while you might look at the badge, price and scoff “more than £30K for a Golf!?”, to spec a version of the aforementioned cars with an engine that would remotely keep up with a Golf R, you’re looking at spending another £10K on top – possibly more. That’s key to this car’s appeal.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: Kitted out

The power and powertrain specs are just one part of the picture. Whereas once Volkswagen wanted to take money off you for just about every option, if someone handed you a Golf R with no options, you’d likely not be too upset.

It’s easier to talk about what’s missing – heated seats, leather, a panoramic roof – than what’s standard. Because the list is long, including sat nav, flash LED lights, big wheels, a 6.5-inch touch screen, DAB radio and more.

Pocket-lint

And, of course, that DSG auto box. This is a potentially contentious point, because the auto gearbox is the only one available with this car. Whereas in the hatch you can have a 6-speed manual.

We’ve been on record before as saying we think this 6-speed DSG is less impressive than the 7-speed used elsewhere in VW’s range. It seems to struggle more at slow speeds, such as when manoeuvring and coming up to roundabouts in slow-moving traffic. It occasionally makes you look like you’ve lost the ability to drive, by throwing in a downshift and causing a massive head-jerk, or occasionally having a slight delay in delivering the power when you’re needing some quickly to get out into a gap.

There are some good parts to the transmission though. Firstly, you get small paddle shifters as standard behind the wheel. Flick the gear lever across and you’ve complete control. Secondly, in the sportier driving modes, it shifts up very quickly indeed and upshifts are accompanied by a noticeable and amusing “parp” from the quad exhausts.

Pocket-lint

The R Estate is a formidable thing. Its combination of 300 horsepower and four-wheel drive mean you’re not coping with wheelspin or torque steer and it’s a great all-weather drive. We think the DSG box takes a little bit of the tactile playfulness away, compared with the hatch, but can see why VW opted for the auto option.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: Playing fast and loose

In other ways, however, the Golf R R Estate retains the engaging qualities of the hatch and then some.

Core to this quality is the mode selector with its Comfort/Normal/Race/Individual settings which configure the gearbox, ride, engine and exhaust sound. We drove most of the time in individual (ride in comfort setting, engine in sport, exhaust normal), but in Race mode, the R is a bit of an animal.

Pocket-lint

When you take it by the scruff of the neck it moves around in a very engaging way – the extra weight over the rear and added length of the estate meaning the rear end of the car is happier to move around. And not in a way where it feels like it’s going to spit you off the road, but in a manner which if you’re into driving quickly will have you laughing out loud.

For such a spacious car, you would expect this Golf to feel like an unwieldy bus, but it feels almost Mini-like in its size, alertness and adjustability. Who said the Germans don’t know how to have fun? Just a pity that the dynamic chassis control (DCC) is an £830 option.

And it bears repeating that with 300 horsepower and four-wheel drive, you need some serious firepower to keep up with a Golf R Estate, which smashes through the 60mph benchmark in a smidge over five seconds. In the wet and grim conditions that we seem to experience even in summer months in the UK this factor is magnified such that as an all-weather, any road car the Golf R Estate has few peers. Think of it not so much as a very expensive Golf but more as a cut-price Audi S4 Avant.

Pocket-lint

You’re wrong if you think nobody is going to notice you in this car. Our car’s Lapis Blue paint (£630), 19-inch Pretoria alloys (£990) and the double day time running light LED graphic (standard) certainly drew attention. Sometimes the wrong kind of attention. If you want to do the discrete Golf R thing, stick with the standard 18-inch alloys and an exterior colour like black. For our money, those four exhaust pipes (the hatch has two) are overkill, too.

Volkswagen Golf R Estate review: Architecturally speaking

Part of the appeal of any Golf is its normal, blend-in quality – and this is true of the inside too. It’s tasteful, largely black/grey and not going to challenge anyone in design terms. But if you’re looking for a massive change in quality of trimmings on an R compared to regular Golf, prepare to be disappointed.

Pocket-lint

Changes are limited to the deco finishes: a carbon-fibre pattern effect (repeated in the seat bolster pattern on our car’s optional leather trim), and some blue details on the dials and switch gears (it’s the R sub-brand’s signature colour). Note our test car came with the £2,615 carbon/nappa leather upholstery, including heating of the front seats. The chairs on their own are good, so we would advise if you can live without leather then do – spend a couple of hundred quid on heated seats separately if you feel the need.

Elsewhere the Estate is the standard Golf. Which means very high levels of perceived quality, clear dials, nice ergonomics, and nothing to wrong-foot the newcomer besides the electronic handbrake. The wheel is chunky-rimmed, deep dished, small and lovely to hold too.

Tech-wise the standard 6.5-inch touchscreen with proximity sensor works well. Volkswagen has just upgraded the standard spec (along with the basic price) to mean this comes as standard with sat nav – which given nav is standard on this car’s cheaper Skoda and Seat cousins, it needs to be. Note: our pictures show the larger, 8-inch touchscreen – which is a significant £1,325 price jump. For that you get better screen resolution, a 64GB SSD hard drive and connected services. But we wouldn’t bother.

Pocket-lint

If there’s criticism it’s that, now four years old, architecturally speaking, the Golf interior is starting to feel old. It’s quite blocky, with a very high centre console that’s going out of fashion – the lower set design of its cheaper Skoda cousin gives an airier feeling inside – and more cars are going towards floating or flip-out infotainment screens, minimised switchgear and more premium detailing. It’s in these areas where you’ll most see and feel the difference between this Golf and the mechanically identical Audi S3 (but note that you cannot have the S3 in an estate car bodyshell).

Verdict

Picking fault with cars such as the Golf R Estate feels like an exercise in nit-picking. It is, in many regards, the perfect package. It’ll do most things most families will need (even being economical – 40mpg on a run is easy to achieve), while entertaining the enthusiastic driver when required.

If you’re after a high-performance, all-weather estate car and can’t run to the cost of Audi’s S and RS Avants, this Golf really is one of your best (and only) choices.

Quibbles are limited, but there are a few: that standard fit auto gearbox, which takes out some of the involvement of the hatch and occasionally has dim moments; the cost (people still seem to have issues with the idea of an expensive Golf); and the car’s relative merits compared to various not-precisely-comparable cousins offered by Seat, Skoda and Audi

Nonetheless the Golf R Estate remains a devastatingly fast and appealing class act. And with the £200-a-month personal lease deals we’ve recently seen this car advertised at, it is perhaps the performance estate car bargain of the moment.

24
Aug

Google hires satellite exec to head up Project Loon


The Project Loon team has been conducting successful tests in different parts of the globe for quite some time, but they’ve yet to release a commercial product. Google’s new hire could change that. The tech titan has signed up Viasat exec Tom Moore to become the team’s new general manager by mid-September. Moore originally joined the satellite communications provider when it acquired the company he co-founded. Now, his role is to steer the Loon ship into its next phase and make the internet balloons’ commercial deployment a reality.

Astro Teller, head honcho at Google’s secretive research facility X, said in a statement:

“Under Mike’s scrappy, entrepreneurial leadership, Loon moved from science project to viable venture, and Tom’s valuable industry experience will help launch us into the commercial stage of this moonshot.”

Mike Cassidy is Loon’s old chief, and while he’s out of the project, he’ll remain with X to work on other ventures.

This isn’t the first time the big G hired someone with experience running big companies in an effort to turn experimental projects into commercial endeavors. Google also signed up former Ford and Hyundai exec John Krafcik in 2015 to run its self-driving car division. It’s worth noting, though, that the company lost a few of that particular team’s key members, as well. They’re now working for Uber and are developing the ride-sharing giant’s autonomous car project.

Source: Bloomberg, Recode

24
Aug

The Power Egg is unlike any drone you’ve ever flown before


Normally, when you think “quadcopter”, you think of the standard block-shaped mass of propellers, struts and landing gear. But nothing says they have to look that way. In fact, one drone company from China is taking a radically different approach with a UAV that looks like something from the labs of Capsule Corp.

The Power Egg is the latest autonomous flyer from Beijing-based Power Vision and marks the company’s first foray into consumer UAVs. The Egg weighs 4.6 pounds and is roughly the size of a rugby ball. Its body is comprised of high density plastic. Despite its namesake, this device appears surprisingly sturdy.

Both its landing gear and propeller struts retract back into the housing for easy transportation but flick out for flight. Well, technically the landing gear automatically extends — you’ll have to manually lock the propeller struts in place. The bottom tip of the Egg pops off to reveal a 4K UHD camera mounted on a stabilized 360 degree gimbal. Conversely, the top tip houses the drone’s 6,400 mAh battery.

The Power Egg is capable of flying both indoors and out. When outside, the UAV’s onboard GPS keeps track of where it is relative to the operator. When flying inside, the Power Egg switches over to sonar and ground pattern recognition to understand its orientation.

But the Power Egg’s shape isn’t its only unique feature. Users can control the UAV with either a standard two-axis controller or with a Nintendo Wii-like gesture remote. This secondary controller is designed specifically for people who are new to flying and may be hesitant to give it a go. Therefore, PowerVision made it super simple to use. Wave the remote up to have the Power Egg climb or sweep to the left and right to have it pan. Users will have to hold an activation trigger when gesturing, just to ensure they actually mean to move the Egg and aren’t just waving their hands around. And if that’s too much for your tech-phobic relatives to handle, the wand remote also includes an analog thumbstick.

PowerEgg: First Look

Both remotes offer single-button landing and both rely on your iOS and Android mobile device for processing power. Interestingly, Power Vision offloaded the 2.4GHz antenna that are normally affixed to the back of the remote and made it into a standalone “base station”. That is, your mobile device will still communicate to the Egg through this station, but it won’t be attached to the controller itself. That allows for both remote control options without having to cram unwieldy antennas onto each one. Even with the base station setup, the Power Egg boasts an impressive maximum communications range of 5 km — assuming you can get it that far with the drone’s 23 minute battery life and 13 m/s maximum airspeed.

The Power Egg is also able to think for itself, to a degree, and offers a number of autonomous features. You can command it to travel between pre-selected waypoints while you control the camera, have it circle a specific location — you can even have it perpetually train its camera on the operator in Selfie Mode.

Despite the robust specs, the Power Egg is geared more towards casual users than the “prosumers” who’d otherwise be looking at high-end drones, such as the DJI Phantom 4. Company reps told me at a recent demonstration that, while there will likely be some overlap with some professional services like Real Estate marketing, they expect the Power Egg to be used primarily for snapping pictures and video of yourself and your loved ones. And, while conventional quadcopters are typically stored out of sight when they’re not in use, the Power Egg has been designed to take center stage on your living room coffee table as a piece of functional modern art with an included storage stand.

The Power Egg is currently available on preorder from the PowerVision website. For $1,288 you’ll get the Egg itself, both controllers, the 2.4 GhZ base station, the battery, necessary charging cables and a stylish backpack in which to carry them all. The company expects the first models to ship 8-10 weeks after preorder ends, so you’re looking at Mid-October for deliveries to start.

24
Aug

Woz Laments No Headphone Jack on iPhone 7, Sees USB-C as Future of Audio


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has predicted a consumer backlash if Apple drops the headphone jack in the upcoming iPhone 7 in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity.

“If it’s missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that’s going to tick off a lot of people,” claimed Woz, speaking to The Australian Financial Review.

“I would not use Bluetooth – I don’t like wireless,” he said. “I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music.”

With Apple widely expected to drop the headphone jack in next month’s iPhone 7, rumors indicate the company will include Lightning-equipped EarPods in the box, as well as a Lightning-to-jack adapter to allow users like Woz to connect their existing wired earphones to the device.

“Mine have custom ear implants, they fit in so comfortably, I can sleep on them and everything. And they only come out with one kind of jack, so I’ll have to go through the adapter,” he said.

Asked what would have to change for him to consider using wireless in the future, Woz added: “If there’s a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we’ll see.”

Bluetooth 5, announced in June, is expected to be faster, with longer range and a higher transfer rate, but when the standard will be ready for adoption remains unclear.

While the consensus is that Apple will remove the headphone jack in favor of Lightning, Intel continues to position USB-C as the open standard of the future for digital audio. The port continues to see wider adoption in popular Android-based smartphones.

I think USB-C is going to be the future,” said Woz. “One of my favorite Android phones, the Nexus 5X, uses that connector. It gives it a higher level in my own thinking.”

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: USB-C, Bluetooth, Steve Wozniak
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24
Aug

What to expect from Sony’s PlayStation New York event: PS4 Neo, PS4 Slim, and more


Sony is getting ready to replace the PS4. Sort of.

No, it isn’t launching the PlayStation 5 already, but it is supposedly going to introduce not one but two upgrades. The first one is called the PS4 Neo, and the second one is called PS4 Slim. Both of these consoles, as well as a new controller, are expected to be unveiled at a Sony PlayStation event in New York City. At the time of writing, Sony hasn’t yet confirmed the existence of the Slim console, however.

Still, if you’re interested in what it is or what it might feature, or maybe you want to know more about that PS4 Neo, which is supposed to bring 4K capabilities, we’ve given a quick overview of what Sony might unveil at its event.

When is Sony’s PS event?

Journalists received invites to a “PlayStation Meeting” scheduled for 7 September at 3pm EST at the PlayStation Theater in New York.

What can you expect from Sony’s PS event?

Pocket-lint

PS4 NEO (PS4K/PS4.5)

The PS4 Neo – also called the PS4K or PS4.5 – is set to be officially unveiled during an event in New York on 7 September. The new console will be able to upscale current PS4 titles to 4K and support games with improved visual fidelity, which benefits the company’s upcoming Playstation VR headset. In other words, it’s basically a souped-up PlayStation 4, bringing upgraded hardware specs and better graphical performance.

Sony’s console is also expected to feature an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. PS4 games will work on the console, too, and they’ll receive a boost in performance. Moreover, no game will be exclusive to the new console. Games will have an enhanced mode that will improve the graphics on the upgraded version, but they’ll still work on normal PS4 consoles. The PS4 Neo is intended to sit alongside and compliment the standard PS4.

Sony has already confirmed the console’s existence. We’re just waiting on the company to launch it. At the moment there are no details on a price for the console, but chances are, this will be a pricey upgrade. We already know a lot about PS4 Neo, thanks to a series of leaks as well as a direct confirmation from Sony’s Andrew House, but check out Pocket-lint’s rumour round-up for more details about the console:

  • Sony PlayStation 4K: What is PS4.5/Neo?

@Shortmaneighty2

PS4 Slim

The Wall Street Journal has reported that we can expect two consoles to launch at Sony’s New York event: the rumoured PS4 Neo and a new “standard” slim model. All attention has been on a future high-powered console, and so no one expected a Slim model to be announced too. Sony has a history of revamping consoles, usually with a launch of the Slim with a lower price to attract those yet to jump on the PS platform.

While the PS4 Neo is expected to offer 4K output and more beefed-up internals, the PS4 Slim is expected to be a slimmer version of the existing PS4. It’s a console upgrade that’s becoming pretty standard in the industry. (Think of the PS3 Slim, and even the recently released Xbox One S, which has a smaller body and slightly improved features such as a built-in 4K UHD Blu-Ray player.)

Keep in mind a PS4 Slim appeared on auction site Gumtree recently, revealing a Marmite design. From that leak, we can see that the PS4 Slim is significantly slimmer than its predecessor and has most of the same connectors as the standard PS4. It has a power port, accessory port, HDMI out and Ethernet port. There’s no more details yet on other features the console might bring. We don’t even know pricing.

Some reports have suggested that the new PS4 Slim has the same capabilities as the existing PS4, rather than offering any sort of upgrade, but other reports, such as a recent analysis performed by the folks at Digital Foundry, has shown souped up internals for improved game framerates.

ZRZ (YouTube) via Engadget

PS4 Slim controller

The PS4 Slim might get a new controller, according to a recent leak. It looks as though the new controller isn’t going to vary too much from the DualShock controller of the PS4, but there’s a change to the light bar, now showing through on the top of the controller. Originally there was a video of this new controller shared by ZRZ on YouTube. A picture of the controller is floating around still, however, thanks to Engadget.

To verify the new design, a gamer who was able to buy that original PS4 Slim from Gumtree, has confirmed that this visible bar on the top just looks like a transparent section, allowing the light that shows at the front to be seen on the top too. Speculation suggested that this might be for linking-up with PS VR when it launches. With the number of leaks appearing, this is all looking likely.

24
Aug

‘Pokémon Go’ update explains which monsters are the best


Despite its incredible initial popularity, Pokémon Go has faced a number of issues since launch beyond just keeping its servers working. A Bloomberg report cites analyst numbers claiming the game’s active users have shrunk by more than 10 million from their mid-July peak, which makes keeping the remaining players happy even more important. An update that just arrived on Android and iOS is trying to address that, pulling in the recently-added Team Leader characters to give players advice on their Pokémon.

The only problem is that, as you can see in the screenshots, the advice is pretty vague and may not give casual players any useful info. Basically, by pressing the appraisal button while looking at a captured Pokémon, players can get feedback that indicates how that particular Pokémon’s stats compare to others of its species. That’s the kind of feedback you’ll need before deciding which ones to evolve, battle or trade to the professor — but only if you can understand what’s going on. The Pokémon Go Database fan site has a list of all the possible responses and what they mean in terms of numbers, acting as an explainer to the explanation feature.

As-is, it’s a small step towards helping players understand what’s going on without needing to search out help online, while the changelog indicates that Niantic is also working on “rebalancing” the training battle. So many areas of the game could use work to provide better rewards for time invested it’s hard to pick out just one, but that’s apparently what’s coming next. You can grab the new update on iTunes or Google Play right now — let us know if a few one-liners from Spark, Blanche and Candela are enough to keep you playing.

Source: Pokémon Go, iTunes, Google Play

24
Aug

Revisit 2005 by playing ‘Call of Duty 2’ on your Xbox One


Back before Call of Duty went full-on Michael Bay, the series focused on historical conflicts ignored by the then unstoppable Medal of Honor series. Xbox 360 launch title Call of Duty 2 was the last game in the series from original developer Infinity Ward to do such. And now, you have the chance to play through the Battle of Pointe du Hoc once again. How’s that? The objective-based WWII shooter is now backward compatible on Xbox One. If nothing else, it’s an interesting glimpse both at how much the franchise has changed and how FPS themselves have evolved over the past 11 years. Because, even in 2005, CoD 2 was considered a bit old-school in terms of design.

The best part is that it’s free — assuming you still have the original disc, of course. Everyone else can cough up $20 for it via the Xbox Game Store. Now’s a good of time as any to try finishing your run through the campaign on “veteran” difficulty, no? I can’t think of a better way to prep for Modern Warfare Remastered, myself.

Via: Eurogamer

Source: Xbox Game Store

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