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Marriott and MIT want to turn your hotel into a social network

Six Degrees app from Marriott and MIT

If you travel often, you know that it’s hard to socialize at hotels; short of a chance encounter, you’ll probably end up drinking at the bar by yourself. MIT and Marriott may have a better solution in store with their Six Degrees app. The mobile software uses LinkedIn to find connections between you and other guests. You’ll know if someone is a college alum, works at the same company or shares your love of scotch. Staff can organize events if there are enough people with common interests, and there’s even an LED-equipped table that lights up a line between visitors when there’s a match.

It’s still early goings for Six Degrees. Marriott is just beginning to test the app this month, and there could be some necessary refinement before the company launches a pilot project in a dozen locations. Provided everything works out as planned, though, you might just look forward to business trips — when the entire hotel is a social network, you could have a lot more to do than watch TV reruns in your room.

Filed under: Cellphones, Internet, Mobile


Via: Consumerist

Source: Fast Company


Nike finally introduces a Fuelband app for Android

Despite rumors of the Nike+ Fuelband’s demise (and a cozy relationship with Apple), the sportswear maker has finally expanded its compatibility by releasing a sync app for Android. Just like the iOS companion app, it communicates with Nike’s wearable fitness tracker over Bluetooth, but this one only works with the newer Fuelband SE and a select list of Android phones. Requiring Android 4.3 and Bluetooth LE support, right now that list includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One, Nexus 5 and the Moto X. Last year Nike denied it even had an Android app in the works, and yet here we are. The feature list looks comparable to the iOS version, but coming more than two years after the Fuelband originally launched, we’re wondering how Nike+ will fit into the health and fitness plans being laid out by Apple, Google and the rest.

Filed under: Wearables, Mobile


Source: Nike, Google Play


Facebook’s Slingshot is a Snapchat competitor that wants you to snap back

After accidentally releasing it to the world last week, Facebook has now officially unveiled Slingshot, a curious new app to come out of the company’s Creative Labs division. Widely rumored as a Snapchat competitor, Slingshot certainly has an ephemeral element — all of the photos and videos you send using it are easily removed with a simple swipe. But while Snapchat is a messaging service for one-on-one conversations, Slingshot is more about sharing that moment with lots of people at once. In a sense, it’s an impromptu social network that encourages spontaneous communications. But there’s a catch — if you want to see what your friends have shared with you on Slingshot, you’ll have to reciprocate and “sling” something back. It’s perhaps the only social app we’ve heard of that requires 100 percent active participation, and that’s at the core of what makes Slingshot so very unique.

Slingshot was started in one of Facebook’s December Hackathons last year, where employees were encouraged to come up with new Creative Labs apps. Creative Labs, if you don’t already know, is a division within Mark Zuckerberg’s domain that’s encouraged to come up with new and innovative apps that exist outside of the core Facebook ecosystem. It’s a way for the firm to explore new forms of social connections and see what sticks without mucking about with its bread and butter. Creative Labs’ first-ever product meant for such a mission was Paper, a dedicated newsreading app that seems to be more immersive and visually richer than the company’s primary offering. After testing it over the holidays, Facebook decided that Slingshot would be the second standalone app from the internal startup initiative and a team of 10 people started to work on it full-time in January. Six months later, it’s now ready for release.

“It’s an app where everybody’s a creator and nobody’s just a spectator,” Will Ruben, Slingshot’s product manager, tells us. “That sort of dynamic creates a space where there’s really low pressure to create, because when everybody’s a creator, there’s no pressure behind creating.” Another thing that he wanted to impress on us is that Slingshot is not a messaging app. “It’s an app for sharing with lots of people at once,” he says. “I frequently sling shots to not one or two people, but 20 or 30 or 40 people, because I have shots to unlock from them that I’m going to get to view and because for those whom I don’t have shots from, it’s me telling them that I want to hear what they’re up to, too.”

Here’s how it works. You sign up on Slingshot using your phone number, after which you can decide to find friends through your phone’s contacts list or through your Facebook login. Importantly, we’re told that you don’t need a Facebook account to sign up for the service, though obviously it’s easier to find friends if they’re all using the social network. You can also choose to find a friend on Slingshot through a username if you can’t find him or her through the other two methods.

Just like Snapchat and Taptalk, the first thing you see when you launch Slingshot is that it automatically starts the camera. The three standard camera controls are Flash, Shoot and Selfie, all of which are fairly self-explanatory. Once you snap a photo, you’re immediately taken to the retouch view, where you can reshoot, use the shot you’ve taken or add a caption or doodle to the image. Your username and the location and time of when the shot was taken are automatically added to the header. If you decide to enter a caption, you can either leave it in small text at the top, or you can drag and drop it to the body of the image to make the text larger. If you’re feeling creative, you can also tap Draw, which launches a color picker on the side. You can scrub up and down to change colors and left and right to resize the brush.

As you’re doodling around on your photo or video, you might also notice a soundtrack playing in the background. Joey Flynn, Slingshot’s product designer, explains that the team actually went the extra step to work with a sound designer to come up with a whole list of custom sounds for the app so that it feels like a “fun and enjoyable place to create.” Indeed, even the act of sending off a shot prompts a slingshot sound effect.

After you’re done creating your shot, you can hit “use,” which will bring up what the Slingshot team calls the “sling view.” It’s essentially a list of all your friends who use Slingshot, with the people who’ve slung shots to you listed at the very top. Remember what we said earlier about how you can’t view people’s shots until you’ve reciprocated? Well, those photos and videos that your friends sent are still “locked” and therefore appear pixelated. If your friend sent multiple pictures, a number will show on that thumbnail indicating how many of them remain unseen.

Now, here’s where the core “slingshot” action comes into play. If you want to unlock all of those images from all of your friends in one swoop, you can do so by sending just the one shot that you took. Of course, you can also send the photo or video to just a few friends, or to people who haven’t slung any shots to you as well. But the idea that you can unlock several images in one fell swoop is one of the reasons Slingshot is really more of a “blast” or group-feed app, rather than a simple messaging one. “You typically want this moment shared to a bunch of people — it’s how it works best,” says Flynn.

When you finally do get to unlock those shots, you’ll see those pixelated images dissipate, leaving behind a clear image of what your friend captured. Like many other ephemeral messaging apps, you can then swipe them to remove them for good. If you decide you want to react to a particular post, however, you can tap on it to send what’s called a reaction shot. It’ll bring up a half-screen view of a camera with the original still in the background. Unlike regular “slingshots,” these reaction shots are already unlocked and don’t need to be replied to in order to view them.

When asked why they thought the reciprocal part of the app was so important, Flynn explains it. “What it does is that it makes it so that everyone feels that they’re involved in the community. When you share something, you know you’re going to get some stuff back, and you’re also unlocking stuff … There’s this cool connectedness you get from that. It makes you feel close with the people you’re slinging shots with.”

“The blast dynamic where you’re sending to lots of people at once, these little moments that you share end up being shared experiences too,” says Ruben. Contrasting it to Instagram or other photo apps, he says, “What you share on Slingshot ends up becoming way more spontaneous and authentic. It’s something that you share in the moment. It’s not the best picture that you took, but it’s just [the] in-the-moment, spontaneous window into your life.” He adds that there’s also a storytelling element to it too, as you can also send multiple shots of a day at the zoo, for example, and have your friends relive that experience along with you.

We’ve only had a brief few minutes with the Slingshot app, but from what we’ve seen of it, it strikes us as a tremendously fun one, with animations and sound effects peppered throughout to make it as playful as possible. It remains to be seen if we can convince our friends to get on board the Slingshot train — one of our coworkers already mentioned that being forced to respond with a photo sounds more like a deterrent than an encouragement.

However, the addition of the Slingshot app to Facebook’s arsenal does signify that the company is willing to step outside the box. The fact that Slingshot doesn’t absolutely require a Facebook login is significant, and it shows that the firm is willing to experiment with alternative means of engaging with the community. If Creative Labs’ mantra is to discover new ways to share, Slingshot is most certainly that. It’s available on iOS and Android starting today.

Filed under: Internet


Source: Slingshot


Tune in to our liveblog of Amazon’s phone announcement tomorrow!

Amazon has taken a crack at e-readers, tablets and even set-tops, so it was only a matter of time before the company turned its sights to the ripe smartphone market. Of course, we’ve also heard about this project for the last three years, so it’s about time Amazon actually launched an official device. And from what we’ve heard so far, the company won’t have to try very hard to be different from its competition: Rumors indicate the new device will come with six cameras, a 4.7-inch screen and a suite of clever 3D tricks. Aside from that, we’re relatively in the dark about what to expect, so you’ll want to stay glued to our liveblog of the launch event starting tomorrow at 1:30PM ET, linked below!

Amazon’s phone launch liveblog

June 18, 2014 1:30:00 PM EDT

Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile, Google, Amazon



What do you want to know about ASUS’ PadFone X?

ASUS PadFone X

When we first saw the new ASUS PadFone X, we walked away somewhat intrigued by the improvements that had been made to the device. But how does it stand up to the top phones and tablets available today? Our review is coming soon, but now is your chance to ask your questions before it goes live! Head over to the Engadget Forums and get some answers.



Warhammer 40K: Carnage Now Available in the Play Store

Warhammer 40K Carnage Android Warhammer 40K: Carnage has made its way to Android today, just a month or so after its debut on iOS . The title is a side-scrolling-action-RPG game that puts you in the roll of a Space Marine who gets the pleasure of annihilating a slew of Orcs. You can play as the legendary Ultramarine and even unlock the Blood Angel.

Warhammer 40K Carnage Android Warhammer 40K Carnage Android Game features:

PLAY AS POWERFUL SPACE MARINE CHARACTERS: Battle as a legendary Ultramarine or unlock the action as the menacing Blood Angel. Encounter aggressive bands of Orks and Bosses as you build your Space Marine up to his frighteningly awesome destructive best!
STUNNING LEVEL DESIGNS AND GREAT REPLAYABILITY: Blast through the ever changing world of Mithra. Up to 9 diabolically different ways to play each level. Challenge yourself: experience heavy gravity, corrosive atmospheres, meteor storms, exploding enemies and the much dreaded blackout levels modes.
‘EASY-DESTRUCT’ GAME CONTROLS: Easy-to-use tap controls guarantee effortless mayhem and destruction of all you survey!
500+ CLASSIC WARGEAR ITEMS: Get your hands on Boltguns, Chainswords, Grenades, Thunder Hammers, Jump Packs and more. Customize and upgrade your Space Marine in True WH40K RPG fashion to suit your style and maximize up the destruction.
FREE EXPANSION PACKS: Battle through more than 50 levels across 2 maps. 6 more maps to come.
FRANTIC FIRETEAM MISSIONS: Connect with your Google Play or Facebook friends, and recruit to complete challenging co-op ‘Fireteam’ missions. Each mission earns you rare ore and a chance to acquire Epic gear.
COMPELLING STORYLINE: Story written exclusively by award winning author Graham McNeill.
– IMPORTANT Minimum requirement: 768MB Ram, 1GB+ recommended
– Minimum Android OS: 4.1 or newer
– Minimum screen resolution: 800×480
– Recommended: Android device manufactured in 2013 or newer

It certainly looks like a pretty sweet title indeed. Warhammer 40K: Carnage can be picked up in the Play Store for $6.99. Just hit the link below and let us know what you think.

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Meet the NomadClip, the Latest Clipable Charge/Sync Cable from Nomad

Back in January we showed you guys a fun little keychained size portable charge/sync accessory called the Nomad ChargeKey. It was small and hooked right to your keychain. Certainly an easy way to make sure you were never without a charging connection or data transfer cable at any given time. Nomad has since added another new addition to the innovative charging solution with a new carabiner sized cable called the NomadClip.

NomadClipSimilar to the credit card sized offering and the ChargeKey, the NomadClip offers you a charging cable discreetly placed inside the carabiner. The USB plug tucks in the top and your charging tip tucks away in the bottom.

NomadClipNomad has placed the new NomadClip up for Pre-orders for both the iOS lighting charging tipped version and the micro USB version. Pricing for either of them is $39.00 each with free shipping in the US, CA, UK and AUS, any other country is a flat $5. If you want to knock a little off that price tag though, head over to our friends at, for one week only they have an addition 25% off coupon code for everyone.

FYI: This is not designed for climbing. (Had to put it in there)

Via Techaeris

Visit Hellonomad to order and look at their other charging solutions.

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Nike+ FuelBand App Finally Makes its way to Android

The Nike Fuelband sat as a iOS compatible only device since its original launch. That never bodes well for a wearable device, being locked to a certain OS that is. Recent rumors from April lead to lots of speculation that Nike might be doing away with the Fuelband line when they laid off a 55 of the 70 person team working on the device. It wouldn’t have been all that surprising, and it still might be true, to some degree. However, Nike doesn’t seem quite ready to give up just yet. This morning they have released the Android compatible app for the Nike Fuelband. Yes, the Android world is in shock right now.

Nike+ Fuelband app for Android

· View your progress against your goal broken down by day, week, or month.
· Save all your information directly to your Nike+ profile online.
· Customize your device display, change the time and update your Daily Goal – straight from the app.
· Track NikeFuel and intensity for specific activities with Nike+ Sessions.
· Stay active by enabling Move Reminders in your Device Settings that encourage you to Win the Hour.
· Compete for the top slot on your Friend leaderboard.
· Stay constantly connected to your app with Bluetooth 4.0.

Nike says the app is compatible on any Android device running Android 4.3 or above and, of course, you need a Nike Fuelband SE device to use it. They put in a little extra work apparently and optimized he app for the Galaxy S3, S4, S5, Nexus 5, HTC One and Moto X. Owners of those devices will get the best experience.

For those of you that meet the criteria, hit the link and install the app. If this is what you were waiting for before you bought a Fuelband, we put the links to pick one of those up down below too.

Via Droid-Life

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iPhone 6 Sapphire Display Limited to 5.5″ Model as LG Struggles with iWatch Display Power Draw?

With conflicting opinions about whether Apple and partner GT Advanced Technologies will have enough sapphire crystal production ramped up for both rumored iPhone 6 models and the iWatch, Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is now weighing in [Google Translate, via G 4 Games] with its own claims that only the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model will include a sapphire display due to production limitations.

According to the report, the smaller 4.7-inch model will continue to use Corning’s Gorilla Glass and represent the bulk of shipments for the new iPhone. From G 4 Games:

The source also claims that the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 will hit the market with Gorilla Glass in tow. The main screen suppliers allegedly are LGD and JDI, and in anticipation of the handset’s success, the company expects to ship 60 million units (we assume that by the end of 2014). […]

As far as the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 goes, it will allegedly be built in limited quantities due to low sapphire yield, leading to a limited supply in 2014, therefore contradicting a recent report which claimed that Apple will have enough sapphire for both iPhone 6 models AND the iWatch.

The report also addresses Apple’s rumored iWatch, claiming that LG Display has been struggling to meet Apple’s demand of nearly zero energy use in standby mode for the device’s display. From G 4 Games:

Reportedly, Apple has constantly pushed back the gadget’s release date because the device failed, in the past, to meet the company’s expectations. One of Apple goals with the iWatch is for the smartwatch’s display to draw almost no power when in standby, but this has proven to be a big challenge. And speaking of the display, the device will reportedly feature an OLED screen (between 1.3 and 1.6-inches in size) which will be supplied exclusively by LG Display, just as it’s been reported back in January 2014.

Sources for the report reiterate previous claims that Quanta will be handling the bulk of iWatch production, although Inventec will reportedly also be helping out.

According to today’s report, the iPhone 6 and the iWatch will be introduced at the end of the third quarter, roughly in line with rumors and Apple’s recent iPhone launch history putting this year’s introductions in the September-October timeframe.


Alleged ‘Perfect Replica’ of iPad Air 2 Shows Touch ID, Recessed Volume Buttons, New Speaker Grille

While Apple is widely expected to expand use of its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the iPad Air and iPad mini later this year, new photos of an alleged “perfect replica” of the second-generation iPad Air shared by [Google Translate] hint that there may be a few additional changes in store for the device.

The replica, which is making the rounds in China and Japan, unsurprisingly depicts a Touch ID home button for the device, but also shows some tweaks to physical features around the edges of the device, including a new speaker grille with a single row of larger holes on each side of the Lightning port as opposed to the current double row of smaller holes on the iPad.

Another difference lies in the volume buttons which are shown slightly recessed into the edge of the case, compared to the current design that sees buttons protruding slightly from a flush holes machines in the device’s shell. mentions that the mute switch is also missing, although there is a small hole where the feature is usually located. Unfinished protoype and mockup parts sometimes feature these pilot holes to guide machining of the final hole.

Updated iPads are expected to launch later this year, with October being Apple’s usual timeframe for such launches over the past couple of years. The latter part of 2014 is expected to be a busy one for Apple, with rumors of launches for the iPhone 6, new iPads, the iWatch, and perhaps some Mac updates such as the company’s rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook Air.

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