When watching a gang cyclists chase someone in a yellow jersey (aka, the Tour de France) we’re used to seeing the action from bike- or car-mounted cameras. But we’ve all come away disappointed, never truly knowing the tournament from the ovine point of view (some say, the only point of view for cycling). To tackle this, Sony has kitted out a flock of five from Harewell Hall, Harrogate with Action Cams so they can grab grass-roots scenes of the race. The publicity stunt might not result in world-class footage, but it does mean we get to tick “gallery of camera-wearing sheep” off the Engadget bucket list.
Filed under: Wearables
Angry Birds games can be a touchy subject for many. It came out with a bang when it first hit and has since built a conglomerate of games, TV episode spin offs, and merchandise. Rovio has built quite the empire with a set of flying birds. Regardless if you are a huge fan, avid lover or down right refuse to install any Angry Birds game ever again, the fact remains that Rovio has released an update to one of the more longstanding versions of the gaming titles, Angry Birds Seasons.
Today’s update adds 24 more levels in what is called South HAMerica. See what they did there? Clever. This one takes you to South America, again, but this time with a bit of Aztec themeing thrown in.
The download rings in at 48MB’s, so make sure you have room to store the massive game, of course if you have ABS installed already it is taking up most of that space already. Pop into the Play Store and snag the update, or if you don’t have Angry Birds Seasons, hit the links below. It is free-to-play and packs some 300 levels of pig bashing, hair pulling time-wasting entertainment. Now we just need Angry Birds Stella, this fall, and Angry Birds Transformers to be released.
Are you like me, and many others, who just HAD to download and play with the Android L developer preview? Did you run into the issue of having to clear all of your notifications one by one, because Google had not implemented a Clear All function? Well Koushik Dutta, the well known developer for apps such as AllCast, and the popular ClockWorkMod Recovery system for Android devices, has something for everyone.
Koush has released a downloadable tweak for those Android L users, that allows you to clear all your notifications, with ease. While playing around with Android L, I would get annoyed at the fact that I needed to constantly clear my notifications one by one. It’s not known if this was just something that wasn’t baked into Android L yet. Nonetheless Koush has saved the day.
While it’s not the convenient three lines at the bottom of your screen, and there isn’t just a clear all button. However, the tweak just appears as another notification, and all you need to do is tap the notification and everything disappears from your notification bar. Koush kept in mind to not just throw anything together when designing this tweak. He was able to keep the look and feel of the Material design found throughout the Android L developer preview. If you’re worried about being able to clear notifications from your lock screen, don’t be. This small tweak allows you to clear those lock screen notifications as well.
In order to get this tweak onto your phone, so that you can start clearing your notifications on Android L, simply download, install the APK file, and you’re ready to go. You can download this useful tweak from Koush, by downloading the APK found here.
The post How to clear all notifications using Android L (preview) appeared first on AndroidGuys.
It’s been a while since we did our last collection of wallpapers so you’ll have to forgive us. But, we’re back, and we plan to get this into regular rotation again with monthly galleries. As one of the more popular sections of the website, we don’t want to disappoint you, the AndroidGuys reader.
This time around we’re sharing wallpapers that center around summertime. And, given we’re on the eve of the 4th of July, we’ve tossed in some fireworks, flags, and feathered justice.
The post 20 wallpapers to celebrate the 4th of July and summertime appeared first on AndroidGuys.
At this point we could say HTC is used to losing money. They make great devices and yet the are unable to turn profit by selling them. Q2 was finally a successful quarter for the company, they turned first profit this year.
HTC’s revenue in Q2 was NT$65 billion ($2.17 billion) out of which they got NT$2.26 billion ($75 million) in profit. They actually had lower revenue this year than they did last year in the same period, but that’s quite normal considering they cut unnecessary costs. Besides, their net profit is higher. We hope HTC will continue turning profit in the coming months, but we’re afraid that won’t happen. We assume HTC One (M8) boosted their profit in Q2 quite significantly considering its been praised all around and has been recognized as one of the best phones this year.
Do you think HTC can keep the momentum going?
The post HTC turns profit in Q2, company’s first profit this year appeared first on AndroidGuys.
We know how Facebook imagines it’ll work in VR, but what about the rest of the internet? Google’s Brandon Jones has announced that he’s working on a way to add virtual reality support for Oculus Rift and Cardboard into Chrome. It’s the second browser to champion WebVR, since the platform has been seeded into experimental builds of Firefox over the last week. Of course, the internet won’t be a city you can walk through, but Jones believes that 360-degree product shots and interactive exhibits should be reasonably easy to create and use. It’s still a long way away from being ready for consumers to use, but we have to admit — surfing the ‘net would be wayyy radder if it was done in Virtuality. Wait, is this 1994?
Apple has applied for a patent that describes a method of adjusting security and other settings for mobile devices based on the location of the device (via AppleInsider). The location data gathered by the system also includes contextual information that helps to identify the phone’s position as a familiar or unfamiliar place.
The system described in the patent titled “Location-sensitive security levels and setting profiles based on detected location” uses at least two pieces of data such as a saved Wi-Fi network or an identifiable cellular tower to determine the location of the device. Once identified, the software can change security options to match the environment, enabling Touch ID and disabling the simple passcode entry when a user is away from home, for example.
The security level and/or other device behavior, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device. The location of the mobile device can be determined by analyzing location aspects present at a location, where any parameters or attributes of a location that can assist in identifying a particular location may be used as location aspects. In a setup process, the mobile device identifies available aspects at a location and can use the available aspects to determine a location context associated with a location. In a use example, the device identifies available aspects at a location and determines whether the available aspects match a previously defined location context. If the available aspects match the previously defined location context, device behavior, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified.
Besides security settings, the system may also adjust the user interface, automatically modifying the home screen apps based on location. For example, the method could display Mail and other productivity apps at work and entertainment apps and games at home.
This location-based security patent application was filed in December 2012 and published July 3, 2014. If implemented, it would provide iOS device owners with another level of protection beyond what Apple’ offers with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Touch ID was introduced last year with the iPhone 5s and is expected to expand to the iPad later this year. Apple also opened up an API for Touch ID in iOS 8 that will allow developers to use the fingerprint scanner for user authentication.
You know that old saying of, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”? Looks like that applies to not one, but two articles we covered yesterday. As it turns out, both the OnePlus tablet and new HTC Volantis specifications were the result of a hoax. According to @evleaks, the tips came from a 14-year-old posing as a Google engineer.
Let’s hope these were blips on a radar and that Evan Blass (evleaks) doesn’t fall victim to such chicanery again. On one hand we see him taking a stronger stance in vetting his sources and leaks; one the other hand we see more people taking a crack at his defense system.
The post OnePlus tablet, recent HTC Volantis specs turn out to be hoax appeared first on AndroidGuys.
“Does it shoot?” That’s the first question an enthusiastic kid asks as I test-fly the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ in a London park. When the child’s father finally catches up, his first question is: “How much is one of those?” In my incredibly short career as a drone pilot, I’ve been reminded how the human imagination withers with age. A couple of weeks with the DJI drone would teach me quite a few things; not only about human perception of these flying devices, but also about the future of our skies.
The answer to the boy’s question is no, it doesn’t shoot… unless you’re talking about video. The answer to dad’s question is much less open to interpretation — the Phantom 2 Vision+ costs $1,299, which includes a 1080p camera built in, plus a three-way brushless gimbal (the part that keeps the camera stable). The Vision+ is a ready-to-fly, all-in-one video-recording drone that lets amateurs like me record silky-smooth, almost cinematic aerial video. A fact that brings us to something of a fork in the road where drones are concerned.
Remote-control drones have been used by the military, academic research teams, big-budget video productions and the private sector. They’re also popular with home-brew and hobby enthusiasts, but other than the odd $50 toy, they’ve never really crossed over to the mainstream. DJI isn’t the only company that makes consumer-friendly drones, but it’s the company leading the market. Its Phantom models require no assembly, and are (relatively) easy to fly. They have an impressive flying range, a decent 20 or so minutes of airtime per charge and a host of other premium features (including GPS, return to home and different flying modes). The Phantom 2 Vision+, with its built-in camera and smooth video (the first Phantoms with cameras were marred by unstable footage), could bring quadcopters, aerial photography and a whole bunch of privacy issues firmly into public consciousness.
After my maiden flight, I take the Vision+ on a trip to the seaside town of Bournemouth, UK, on a sunny Saturday. It’s mid-spring and a steady flow of ice-cream-holding day-trippers crowds the promenade; small groups of people dot the beach. I’ll admit, I’m nervous about flying the drone. Am I allowed to? Are there laws against this (the UK Civil Aviation Authority has regulations, peppered with terms like “substantially” and “near”)? These are the questions in my mind.
The Vision+ shows you what the built-in camera sees in real time, often referred to as First Person View (FPV), through an app for your phone. The same app is where you change camera settings, angle (through 90 degrees) and swap between photo and video modes. It also locates your drone on a map (should it tank while out of sight), and displays battery status. If you have a GPS lock at takeoff, there are fail-safes that bring the drone back to you when battery levels are critically low. You don’t want to rely on fail-safes, though. Having real-time info is immensely reassuring.
That’s until the connection between app and drone breaks. This happens one time as I’m flying above the sea. I still have full control of the Vision+; I just can’t rely on FPV for navigation. Basic flying may be simple, but it’s still easy to get in a pickle. Forward on the controller relates to the direction the drone is facing; when it’s facing you, pushing forward will fly it toward you. Sometimes, when trying to avoid something, it’s easy to fly in the wrong direction (often it’s better to shoot straight up). On this occasion, the video connection restores after about 20 seconds. Long enough that I decide to play it safe and bring the Vision+ back in to land. Besides, a small crowd has gathered behind me on the promenade; they’re either curious onlookers, or the beginnings of a mob.
Later, I take the Vision+ to a quiet location by a harbor. The weather is bright and sunny, with a moderate wind. Setting up the Vision+ for flight isn’t difficult, but the last and vital step is to let the drone get a GPS lock — which takes about 30 seconds. Without it, the drone could drift in the wind and disappear entirely. With GPS lock, when you take your hands off the controller, it’ll keep its location.
On one flight, I lost the GPS signal, and within seconds the drone drifted 50 feet — fortunately close to the ground, before ditching. Another use for the GPS is restricted flying zones. With this info loaded, you can’t launch your drone near an airport. Or, if you’re a bit farther away, you can only fly to a certain altitude. Aviation authorities are still catching up with what to do about consumer drones, but incidents are already taking place that could lead to more restrictive legislation.
At nearly 900 feet above the harbor, I completely lose sight of the Vision+. Thanks to the app, I can see what it is seeing. But I can’t see it. It feels weird. You know it’s up there, and you can control it, but it’s also unsettling — like riding a bicycle with your eyes closed. Before going out of sight, the Vision+ attracts the attention of a local kite flier. He marches over, informing me he’d seen these things online, and that “they go for, what, about £200?” He seems confident with his assessment of what the Vision+ is worth. He tells me I should definitely mention how high it flies in my review. It flies to at least 876 feet. Maybe more, but this is the point I chicken out and bring it down to a manageable (and visible) level. Pro tip: This descent feels like it takes forever, especially when you’re being
scrutinized watched by a know-it-all kite flier.
The only other time the Vision+ goes out of visible range is on my second-ever flight. I had it high enough that there was no chance of collisions, with a clear line of sight for its return. The truth is, no matter how confident you are, even with a video feed, flying blind is dangerous. I guided the drone back using the FPV until I got a visual on it, but had that link broken (like it did on later flights) I’d have been stuck hoping the GPS/return-to-home mechanism came through.
On assignment, I lug the Vision+ halfway around the planet to Hawaii. Fortunately, the drone is incredibly light (1.2kg/2.8 pounds). I bought a backpack built for transporting the Vision+, and I’m happy I did. The case is also light, but rugged, and the drone feels safe inside. It’s on this trip I realize how popular DJI’s Phantom line is. I spot a number of them, most with GoPros (only the “Vision” models come with a camera built in). While the camera on the Vision+ is decent, the video can appear washed out sometimes, or fuzzy when you move the drone quickly (it’s full HD, and also takes 14-megapixel photos). If you want to add your own camera, the popular choice is a GoPro. It’s conveniently sized, and has plenty of accessories for attaching it to DJI drones.
It’s in Hawaii that I get a sense of what might be over the horizon in the world of drone flying. Coincidentally, I’m at a GoPro event. It’s here I meet, and share the skies with, a number of other pilots for the first time. Standing between two trees, looking out over Kuilima Cove, I meet Roland. I assume he’s part of the GoPro party, filming for them. I introduce myself, and learn that Roland’s just here on vacation, a drone enthusiast out in the wild, soaking up the coastal views with his DJI Phantom. He tells me he likes to push them “pretty hard,” and that he’s lost one already (he spares no more details than that). His Phantom hovers over a group of kayakers heading out from the beach. One of them looks up and sees the drone, giving a wave as they pass underneath. Roland’s not using FPV; he’s just a skilled pilot, and manages to float his craft in the right place from quite far away. If the DJI app has taught me one thing, it’s that my depth perception is questionable at best; terrible at worst.
It’s later when I am flying the Vision+ on the other side of the cape that I have a wake-up call. My drone is high, with the camera facing straight down. On my FPV, I see another DJI drone come into view and fly directly underneath mine. It’s not Roland; it’s yet another pilot. We’re both flying above some surfers in the water. I’ve spotted it, but I don’t know if the other pilot has spotted me. Neither of us can see each other, so we’re unable to communicate at all. If I take my Vision+ any lower, we’ll have a real risk of collision, and with many people below and eight spinning rotors in play, it’s risky at best. I bring it in to land to be on the safe side. As fun as flying the drone is, it’s a test of your nerves at times.
In the weeks I’ve had the DJI drone, a number of newcomers join the consumer-friendly UAV market. Kickstarter has seen two action/sport–specific ‘copters get funded, like Pocket Drone before them. DJI is no doubt already cooking up its next craft, too. That’s a lot drones headed for inexperienced hands. My fear is that as numbers increase, people will start flying them in populated or built-up areas. How many news stories will it take before lawmakers re-think current legislation?
When I started flying the Vision+, I expected the public to be suspicious. In reality, everyone I met was genuinely curious, or entertained by it. Even when they were aware it had a camera, they seemed OK with it. No one ever told me to move along, or that I shouldn’t be flying/filming here. I fear that won’t be the case for long.
Anxieties aside, I’m hooked on flying the DJI. Already I’ve been researching scenic locations and accessories to geek out on. At $1,299 (for the camera-enabled model), it’s not cheap. But, with new competition on the way, DJI will want to maintain its head start. Given the amount of time between its original Vision and the Vision+ (less than four months), it might not be too long until the next model takes off.
With more drones in the skies, the potential for accidents can only increase. How long before there’s a defining case, or a change in public perception due to increased privacy concerns? Perhaps, like the cameraphone, the gradual introduction of more flying cameras will lead us to adapt and become more comfortable with them. The only thing for sure is that with drones like the Vision+, that future isn’t far around the corner, and the skies will be buzzing with people ready to film it.
Though HTC lost money last quarter, it had just launched its One M8 flagship to great reviews, and promised the new handset would put a halt to the red ink. The (unaudited) numbers are now in and back up that boast. The company scored a NT$2.8 billion profit ($92 million) on NT$65 billion ($2.2 billion) in revenue, nearly matching sales from last year and turning around a streak of losses. That’s a far cry from the Samsungs of the world, but still a shot of good news for the beleaguered company. To cash in on the new One’s success, HTC recently launched a plastic-bodied version called the One M8 Ace and a cut-down One Mini. Whether those will help it keep up the momentum next quarter remains to be seen — it often gets the post-flagship blues.
Source: HTC (PDF)