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The forgotten losers of the console wars

History is written by the victors, but for all those generations of console wars we’ve managed to weather through, what about the other guys? Opening this week, a new games museum in southern Japan houses 56 different consoles of varying fame (or infamy). For every NES / Famicom, there’s curiosities like the huge “Pocket Home PC”, failing on the very definition of its name. Remember the Sega Game 1000? We didn’t, but we should probably cut these (mostly) beige consoles some slack. While most of the devices toured here weren’t a commercial success, each helped gently push gaming towards its current state — if only by firmly demonstrating what we didn’t want. And yeah, we wish the Dreamcast was still around too. Here’s to the games consoles we’ve loved and lost over the last 40 years.

Filed under: Gaming, Peripherals, Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, Nintendo



This stackable media hub plays your old 16-bit game cartridges

The set-top box market is currently flooded with many cheap Android boxes, but they tend to offer limited remote access plus expansion capability, so it’s about time that something more exciting popped up. One such candidate is the EzeeCube, which aims to be an idiot-proof media hub with three main selling points: Auto-sync content across multiple platforms (Android, iOS, Windows and OS X); simple initial setup for accessing hub content from anywhere; and cable-free expansion that lets you stack up to four modules. We’re talking about slapping on an extra hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, a TV tuner and even a retro gaming module that will bring your dusty SNES and Sega Mega Drive / Genesis cartridges back to life. No messy cables here.

The EzeeCube itself is a 140 x 140 x 45mm box packing a dual-core 1GHz Cortex-A9 processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 4GB of flash storage (for the XBMC OS, version 13.1) and a 2.5-inch 5,400 RPM 1TB hard drive. All the ports are on the back, including an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 socket, a micro-USB port (for OTG accessories and hacking purposes), an HDMI 1.4 port, an optical audio socket and an ethernet port. For networking, you get the usual 802.11n WiFi plus Bluetooth 3.0 for data and device connection, as well as DLNA plus AirPlay for either wired or wireless streaming within your home network. The five pins on the top side are obviously for the stacking expansion, and they supply a total current of up to 5A (hence the maximum limit of four stacking modules).

Since this is an open source product, manufacturers can easily design an EzeeCube module after obtaining a free license (for the sake of enforcing its stacking patent). Ashok Jaiswal, the Hong Kong-based system architect behind this project, expects to see others jump in with Qi wireless charging pads, smart home hubs and more for his little box. As mentioned earlier, Jaiswal’s Indiegogo campaign currently offers an optional hard drive module (either empty or with a 2TB drive), a TV tuner and a retro game cartridge module at relatively affordable prices. The campaign will soon add a Blu-ray module as well, which will let you easily rip your DVDs onto the EzeeCube, in addition to playing Blu-ray movies.

On the software side, the TV interface and the EzeeSync mobile app share the same design language, which should help users quickly familiarize with the system. The relatively straightforward setup process involves the registration of your mobile number, which is later used as your unique ID for remotely and securely accessing your EzeeCube’s content. This saves you from having to manually set up UPnP port forwarding, which can be rather daunting for the non-technically minded — especially Jaiswal’s wife and mother-in-law, in this case. Of course, if your mobile device is connected to the same home network as your EzeeCube, then the app will automatically search for the box.

At Jaiswal’s office, we got to see a working live demo of accessing content on both iOS and Android, as well as viewing photos, video and music on the TV while simultaneously — and independently — playing the same content or other content on the mobile devices. The app also serves as a remote control for navigating around the TV interface; you can toggle those buttons by tapping the downward arrow near the top. Sadly, we didn’t get to see a working “EzeeGame” cartridge module, as this is a very fresh collaboration with the team behind XBMC’s RetroPlayer emulator.

Jaiswal told us that while the software requires further tweaking, the hardware is good to go, so now it’s just a matter of getting the funds for the tooling as well as initial production of 500 units. If you’re interested in helping the EzeeCube become reality, head over to the Indiegogo page to pick a backing option, and you’ll be able to get a hacker edition (no hard drive, but you can obviously stack one on later) for as cheap as $99 due December this year, before it officially rolls out for $299 towards Q2 next year — just as when the $50 gaming module is ready as well.

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD


Source: Indiegogo


‘Range’ iOS Food Thermometer Launches New Bluetooth LE Version on Kickstarter [iOS Blog]

Last year, the company behind the popular Twine Kickstarter project launched a new iOS-enabled food thermometer called Range. That thermometer raised more than $175,000 and now the team is back for more.

Range IO
While not in time for this year’s Summer grilling season, Supermechanical has launched a new, an upgraded version of the Range on Kickstarter. The new Range Oven/Grill Intelligence adds Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity as well as a magnetic storage unit that acts as the thermometer’s base. The old Range needed to be physically connected to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, but with the new wireless version, users won’t need to leave their iPad sitting next to the oven or outside by the grill.

The magnetic base of the Range OI includes additional temperature and vibration sensors — it’s designed to be attached to the front of an oven, detecting when the oven is in use, when it’s preheating and when it’s on normally. It runs for a year on a single AA battery and the thermometer can measure from -40F to 450F (-40C to 230C).

There are three Range OI models available:

Oven Intelligence ($98) – including a 3″ sharp thermometer
Chef Intelligence ($129) – including both a 3″ sharp thermometer and a 6″ round thermometer designed for candy making, home brewing and other needs, and both thermometers can be used simultaneously.
Grill Intelligence ($160) – including a 3″ sharp thermometer and an ambient temperature probe for slow cooking and smoking, as well as an upgraded fiberglass cable for durability even in direct flame.

The OI wirelessly connects to iOS and Android smartphone and tablets, as well as the Pebble smart watch. There are bundles available to purchase multiple versions of the Range OI as well as higher Kickstarter levels that include priority shipping or special grilling aprons. Shipping is anticipated to begin next Spring.

The Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $80,000 with a goal of $250,000 with just over two weeks to go.


Morph’s crowdfunded comeback premieres on YouTube today

It’s been a long time since Morph came out with any fresh material, but thanks to a lump of crowdfunding cash, the comical clay character’s put together a new sketch show that premieres on YouTube today. Shape-shifting Morph first appeared on a children’s art show in the late ’70s before starring in several of his own, but his career’s been stagnant for several years now. In an attempt to revive it, the stop-motion specialists at Aardman Animations — who also created Wallace and Gromit — pulled a Veronica Mars and took to Kickstarter for funds. They raised enough to bankroll a new 15-part series featuring Morph and friends, the first episode of which has just been released on YouTube (and is embedded below). If you’re interested in future episodes, hit the subscription button on Morph’s channel, where you’ll also find a wealth of classic footage to eyeball.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet


Via: The Next Web

Source: Aardman Animations, Morph channel (YouTube), Kickstarter


Accessory of the Day: Lepow Moonstone 6000mAh External Battery


Need some extra juice for your smartphone but can’t get to a power supply? That stinks, bro. We can’t really help you today, but we can do you a solid for the future. Next time, take an external battery with you and you’ll avoid the hassle of hugging a wall.

The Lepow Moonstone 6000mAh External Battery offers enough juice to power your typical smartphone 2-3 times over, maybe more. What’s more, the Moonstone 6000 has two output speeds of (1.2A, 2.1A) and lets you charge up two devices at once. Maybe a tablet and a smartphone. Or a digital camera and an MP3 player… or a…well, you get the point. 

Available in a variety of colors, this one looks good in any shade.

The post Accessory of the Day: Lepow Moonstone 6000mAh External Battery appeared first on AndroidGuys.


TAG Heuer Sales Director Joins Apple in Run-Up to iWatch Launch

Apple appears to have made another important iWatch-related hire as the device’s rumored debut approaches, with CNBC reporting that the company has poached the sales director of luxury watch brand TAG Heuer.

The hiring was revealed by Jean-Claude Biver, head of Jewelry and Watches at TAG Heuer’s parent company LVMH. Biver had claimed earlier this year that Apple had been trying to hire some of his employees but at that point none of them had agreed to join Apple.

Biver said the watchmaker’s sales director left as recently as last week, “to take a contract with Apple” in order to launch the iWatch. LVMH owns Swiss watchmakers TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith. […]

Biver said he was happy for the employee as the new role represents a great opportunity for him.

“If it had been a direct competitor, I would have felt a bit betrayed, but if he goes to Apple I think it is a great experience for him,” he said.

ipod_nano_watchSixth-generation iPod nano in watch mode
With Apple reportedly looking toward an October introduction for the iWatch, the company is building a formidable team with experience in the fashion industry.

At the top of that list is new retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who officially joined the company two months ago. In another high-profile move, Apple last year hired Paul Deneve, CEO of French luxury label Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve reports directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and is working on “special projects” for the company, with most speculation centering around the iWatch.


Pavlok is a habit-forming wearable that will shock you

“Wake up sleepy head… it’s time to go to the gym.” “Put down those chips!” “Stop wasting time on Facebook.” If any of the above statements resonate with you, then you’re not alone. Maneesh Sethi, author and Stanford alumnus has said all of the above to himself at one point, and wanted to know why. Why, despite knowing the right thing to do, he kept making the wrong choices. His solution wasn’t to buy a book, splash out on a personal trainer or go to a professional. Instead, Sethi investigated how humans behave; how they form habits. His research led him to invent Pavlok — a $250 wearable he’s launching later this year. One that will, literally, shock you.

Sethi explains how Pavlok works with a simple example — the habit of waking earlier. “It sits on my wrist and at 6am it’ll vibrate. I can snooze it, but if I snooze it twice, it shocks me.” Essentially, it’s a wristband that electrocutes you into submission action. Or as a description on an investor page puts it:

“Pavlok combines accurate tracking capabilities, powerful commitment techniques, and ‘on-your-wrist’ reminder triggers to change users’ brains and form the habits they wish they had.”

It may sound draconian, but Sethi is serious about it, so much so he plans to launch Pavlok via crowdfunding in fall, and sell to a willing public by early 2015.

Pavlok isn’t just about zapping you every time you skip the gym, there’s a social element. By teaming up with a partner, you’re forced to become more accountable to someone else, which Sethi’s research suggests will make achieving them more likely. Through an app or Facebook, your buddy can see if you did your bit. In a fitness scenario, this could be whether you clocked up 10,000 steps, had a GPS pin at the gym, or logged a jog with Runkeeper. Fail to complete one of those three, and your friend gets to push the buzz-button.

Why go to such extremes? There are a multitude of productivity apps to help form better habits. Whether it’s the getting-to-know-you approach of Breeze, the group hug of 43 Things or the fiscal incentive of Pact, getting things done has become an industry of its own. The problem? Gentle encouragement might work for some, but for others motivation apps themselves soon end up as perma-prostponed tasks on (yet another) todoist.

I myself have lost 30lbs just doing this in the last few months…

But is this just a gimmick? A product that plays on popular ideas about psychology. Dr. Sheri Jacobson, clinical director of Harley Therapy, London explains it’s a modern take on an existing theme. “This is an expensive spin on the idea of wearing an elastic band that you ping when you have thoughts or behaviour you want to change.” It’s a technique already in use by some coaches. “Negative reinforcement has been shown to create desired behaviour, but research has proven, at least with children, that positive reinforcement mostly works better” says Jacobson.

Pavlok uses positive reinforcement too (there’s a financial reward component in some challenges) and Sethi’s confident science is on his side — he cites research at Duke University that claims 40 percent of our day is occupied by habits, rather than conscious decisions. All Sethi needed was a 3D printer, a Bluetooth LE chip and (we presume) a battery to test his habit-forming theory (and wearable) on himself. He extended that to a beta group on Facebook and participants have been working with each other ever since.

Jacobson reminds us Pavlok could suffer the same challenge faced by apps and regular activity trackers — human cunning. “[wearers] tend to unconsciously sabotage using the band by ‘forgetting’ to put it on, until finally it sits languishing, unused despite best intentions.”

Sethi claims his best intentions are paying off though. “I myself have lost 30lbs just doing this in the last few months, simply forcing myself to go and swipe the card at the gym… and my friend can monitor my swiping the card at the gym.” The question is can he change your behavior? Specifically when it comes to backing Pavlock when it goes for crowdfunding in September? That’s the true test of commitment.

Filed under: Wearables



China’s scalpers force Oculus to suspend Rift sales

With over 100,000 developer kit sales logged in its docket, it’s fair to say interest in the Oculus Rift is high. While we wait for the inevitable release of the consumer model, scalpers in China snapping up developer versions at such a rate that the Facebook-owned company has been forced to suspend sales in the country. According to comments made by an Oculus representative on Reddit, the VR specialist was seeing “extreme reseller purchases,” which were presumably sold at an unhealthy markup and took stock away from legitimate developers. While the company’s DK2 headset is making its way to buyers, it’s considered an in-development version of Rift and isn’t intended for consumers.

How bad was the reselling in China? “We were forced to suspend an entire country from purchasing,” says this Oculus employee. “I’ll let you put two and two together.” The good news is that the company is making it a priority to look into an alternative sales process, allowing Chinese developers to create slick VR experiences for the rest of us when the Rift finally gets its public release.

Filed under: Gaming, Wearables, HD, Facebook


Via: Eurogamer

Source: r/Oculus (Reddit)


Galaxy F allegedly leaks in a first live photo

galaxy f live photo____

Samsung’s choice of smartphone build material has been a target of many complains. While some users love Samsung’s extensive use of plastic materials, others would prefer a metallic build. Galaxy F should be such a device and it has been leaking for a long time now.

2 days ago we wrote about and shared a full render of the device. This time around we get what is allegedly a first live photo of Samsung’s premium Galaxy F smartphone, courtesy of GSMArena. The device is expected to feature a Snapdragon 805 chip, 3GB of RAM and a QHD screen. That’s what most rumors have been pointing towards at least. September 12 has been mentioned as a release date for this device, which is after IFA. These are all rumors though, nothing is confirmed yet so we’ll leave it up to you whether to believe it or not.

We’re of course all somewhat sceptical when someone mentions Samsung and metal in the same sentence, though this Galaxy F device might actually exist. We’ll let you know when we get more information of course. What do you think, will Samsung actually release something like this in the next few months?

Source: GSMArena

The post Galaxy F allegedly leaks in a first live photo appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Is Google teasing an alternative on-screen buttons for Android “L”?

on-screen buttons____

As you all know by now, Google announced a new version of Android, called Android “L” (for the time being at least). Along with that they announced a new design approach to Android, called “Material Design” in which they, amongst other things, introduced a new set of on-screen buttons.

Our current vanilla on-screen buttons are going to be replaced with a simple geometric forms which will trigger back, home and multitasking actions (for those who get the “L” update eventually of course). Those buttons at least in our opinion look nice and everything, but it seems there’s more to it than we thought. Google seemingly teased another set of buttons that may appear in “L”. While explaining transitions and animations on their official webpage they used on-screen buttons we haven’t seen before (featured in the middle on the image above). These buttons look basically like the ones we use now with some subtle changes. The most noticeable of which is on the multitasking button, instead of showing screen behind a screen at an angle, second screen is now centered behind the first one. This button actually fits nicely with the carousel multitasking design on Android “L”.

What do you think, will Google give us an option to use these buttons as a second choice? Does this mean developers will be able to create their own offering and we’ll be able to use those as well?

Source: Google
Via: Pocketnow

The post Is Google teasing an alternative on-screen buttons for Android “L”? appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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