When it’s not producing flagship phones like the One (M8) or the Butterfly 2, HTC is flooding the rest of the market with several Desire models. These devices vary anywhere from midrange (like the Desire 816, released in February) to low-end (the Desire 210), and everywhere in-between. This week, the company is launching another model called the Desire 820, which is geared towards the former group — in fact, HTC says this is meant to replace the six-month-old 816. But with a few better specs and an octa-core chipset with 64-bit compatibility, it’s hard to blame Peter Chou and his army of design-oriented individuals for coming out with another one so soon.
The 820 is supposed to hit markets worldwide near the end of September, though the price will likely vary by region. (I’m guessing it will be similar to the 816, which is currently selling in the neighborhood of $350 in the US.) As it’s replacing the aforementioned phone, the 820 comes with a few key performance improvements.
First, it gets a boost from a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 to an octa-core Snapdragon 615 with 64-bit support and big.LITTLE architecture. In English, 64-bit support should be helpful when you’re playing games or using processor-heavy apps because it can perform better and won’t drain the battery as fast; regular apps should see a small improvement in executing operations as well. Of course, these improvements will be virtually non-existent until Google officially releases its next version of Android, which will come with OS support for 64-bit, and developers push ahead with apps that are optimized for the extra bits. (HTC confirmed that the 820 is going to updated to Android L at some point.) As for big.LITTLE? This means that the 820 comes with a set of four 1.5GHz cores for more intense tasks, as well as a set of four 1.0GHz cores for the everyday stuff that doesn’t require a lot of processing power; this is done to improve battery efficiency.
The 820 retains the look of the previous Desire flagship, complete with BoomSound and the same solid polycarbonate shell. Unfortunately, it appears that the 820 comes with the same frustrating 13MP rear-facing camera, which our Richard Lai wasn’t pleased with in his review. We hope HTC is using a different module or tweaked software that offers better performance. That said, the front-facing camera has stepped up to a not-shabby-at-all 8MP sensor — yes, selfie cameras are all the rage these days — and at least you’ll get twice the storage capacity (16GB instead of 8) and an extra half-gig of RAM (2GB over 1.5). The battery hasn’t changed at 2,600mAh and you’ll have the same 5.5-inch 720p display.
HTC is also boasting that the device comes in a slimmer profile (at 7.74mm) and what HTC is calling “double-shot,” which is a multi-tone unibody design technique that the company claims brings improved build quality and tolerances to daily stress.
I wasn’t too surprised to discover that the 820′s in-hand experience is incredibly similar to the 816 that came before it. The 5.5-inch frame isn’t going to be a comfortable fit for everyone, but if you’re used to palming large-screened smartphones, you’ll likely find it tolerable to hold the 820. All but one of the colors offered are glossy — tuxedo grey is the only matte option — so the polycarbonate build is very smooth; however, this makes it more of a target for unsightly fingerprints. The SIM cards and microSD slot are tucked away under a plastic tab on the left side, while the power button and volume rocker are on the right. While the Desire features a lovely design, the camera unfortunately interrupts the design a bit; it stands slightly above the rest of the back and is so close to the top of the device that, when looking at the sides, it’s painfully prominent.
We’d hate to admit it. but you could never really mistake your humble narrator for a manly man, breaking cinder blocks with his pectoral muscles and hanging out at monster truck rallies. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t appreciate the engineering and effort that went into CAT’s newest rugged smartphone, the S50. We’re told that it’s designed “for the outdoors,” that terrifying world where there’s no WiFi and comfortable furniture we see only in our nightmares. The 4.7-inch handset is coated in a liberal helping of Gorilla Glass 3, but the first time we asked about resolution – which we later learned is 1,280 x 720 – the device just glowered at us as if we’d challenged its masculinity.
The body of the S50 is waterproof, certified dust proof to IP6X and waterproof to IPX7, which means that it’s capable of lasting under a meter of water for half an hour. There’s an 8-megapixel camera ’round back, but this phone believes that selfies are nothing more than silly nonsense, which is why the forward-facing lens is a meek VGA option.
You might be disappointed to learn that there isn’t a cuddly inside lurking beneath that austere shell. Alas, you’ll just find a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8926 paired with 2GB RAM alongside 8GB of internal storage that can be bolstered with a 64GB microSD card. Battery-wise, there’s a 2,630mAh cell tucked in there, rated for around 16 hours of talk time. The company is also promising access to its own app store, which claims to offer a curated experience such that its customers “don’t need to trawl through the 1.2 million apps on Google Play to find the one they want.” It’ll be available at some point in the near future, priced at $499 / €479, depending on which side of the Atlantic you reside.
Filed under: Cellphones
Playing over the internet is a very popular way for people to spend a good part of their free time. Online gaming is not a new phenomenon, but it has surely evolved a lot in the last few years. It has gone a long way from the first word games played in IRC chat rooms to the 3D shooters and MMOs of today. I wonder – where will it evolve in the future?
My first contact with a high quality 3D browser game was in the early 2000s, when I had the occasion to drive a fancy sports car on Mars in a browser window. I remember how shocked I was by the incredible graphics of the game, running in a browser window. It was the beginning of a new era for me.
Until then the only internet game I played was Forsaken – a 3D FPS released by Acclaim in 1998. This game allowed its players to connect to another PC (if they knew the other computer’s IP address) over the internet and play multiplayer games. I couldn’t imagine how a browser game could be even better – but it was.
In the following years developers have released a whole bunch of browser-based games, each one with better graphics and sound, culminating (for me at least) in the 2010 release of Quake World, the browser version of the very popular Quake 3 Arena. For me (I was a huge Quake fan from the first one) it was the ultimate browser game, that I could play from wherever I wanted to.
A few years later (in 2013) I found an online game that was even better – it’s called Contract Wars, and was developed by a Russian team called AbsolutSoft. The team has managed to recreate the feeling of the CounterStrike games in a browser window, build a complete achievements and trade system into it, and allow the player to evolve. For me, again, it was a huge thing to find a game resembling, or sometimes even exceeding the quality of so many desktop games I liked before.
OK, I know, desktop games that make full use of the computer’s hardware capabilities will always have much better graphics and sounds. Yes, but they need to be installed (nowadays it’s a lengthy process, as we live in the days of Blu-ray disks), and a quick casual game is most of the times out of the question.
Today there is a game for fans of every genre out there, at least one that runs in a browser window. Players can choose a Realtime Strategy or a First Person Shooter, a puzzle or a hidden object, or even Online Progressive Jackpot Games that run in a browser window.
Where to from here, I ask. Did browser games reach the pinnacle of their evolution, or should we expect even more spectacular things to come?
Unless you live under the tyranny of a bandwidth cap, you probably aren’t spending much time looking at the amount of data passing through your home network on a regular basis. But what if there was a way to visualize it beyond a graph, perhaps even in a way that you could touch? That’s the idea behind EXtrace, a 3D printer that models the traffic from a German internet node. This isn’t just any node, however. As 3DPrint tells it, the De-Cix in Frankfurt is one of the world’s largest when it comes to data throughput. The printer uses this traffic as a basis for spitting clay onto a spinning plate, and each of the end-results represent two days worth of data transfers; more traffic in a given period means thicker sections of the column. And that’s it, really. The EXtrace’s creators say that they don’t have any other plans for the prototype and that they’ve already moved on to other projects. Who knows, though — maybe Will.I.Am would be into expanding on this sort of thing.
Filed under: Internet
Source: Vincent Brinkmann
Qualcomm’s AllPlay is supposed to deliver a world of simple, universal media streaming, and it just came a lot closer to realizing that vision by both landing a raft of new partners and widening its app program. You can now stream to AllPlay devices using several additional music services, including Spotify; if you want to blast that new album on every system in the house, you can. Appropriately, both Fon’s Gramofon media hub and Monster’s SoundStage speakers will now take your AllPlay tunes.
You should expect more apps to work with AllPlay in the near future, too. While Qualcomm first offered AllPlay’s Click developer kit at the start of the year, it’s now publicly available to any app or music service provider that wants to use it. It will be a while before that next wave of supporting software reaches the wild, but it shouldn’t be too long before many of your music apps have some kind of audio sharing built-in.
That robotic vacuum cleaner that Dyson teased a few days ago? It’s arriving — and soon. Thanks to a kind tipster, we were able to get our hands on a few images of the device called the Dyson 360 Eye, which will apparently be revealed in earnest later today. As you can see in the gallery below, it’s a similar shape to existing robot vacuums, but arrives equipped with a 360-degree camera. It can wheel around vacuuming your house for 20 minutes, before it needs to get back to its vertically-mounted, (extremely classy) glass and acrylic charging station. According to our source, it’s a follow-up to a Dyson vacuum cleaner called the DC06 from a decade ago, which was never released as it carried a very hefty $16,500 price tag. The 360 Eye isn’t exactly cheap, but the tipster reckons it’ll be a lot more affordable at around $1,650. He added that it will be available in Japan first, but will roam carpets and corridors in the US and the UK soon after. Expect to hear more later today.
[Thanks, anonymous tipster!]
Filed under: Household
Were you too scared to try out Chrome Beta with Material Design? Most likely not. But just in case you were, Google decided to help drown those fears. Google Chrome for your Android Device updates to v37 and brings in that delicious Material Design we want all our apps to have.
It’s truly a beautiful mobile browser, but I am sure you guys already knew that was the case. Seems a bit snappier as well, so if you want to give the new Chrome with Material Design a try, click the link below to head over to our GappsEarly site to grab the apk. Let us know how much you love it.
The post [APK Download] Google Chrome Updates to v37 Bringing that Beautiful Material Design appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
What do you do after Amazon purchases your start-up for almost $1 billion? If you’re Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, you stay the course. “Amazon has a very specific track record of retaining founding teams for a long time,” he told The Information in a recent interview. “The idea is that we get to operate in San Francisco independently.” Shear has said it again and again since the acquisition: Twitch chose Amazon for autonomy, the freedom to control its own destiny. Shear seems optimistic about the company’s future — it’s experimenting with music broadcasting, and sees e-sports as an area ripe for expansion. More than anything, Shear seems to want the company to become the community’s go-to provider for streaming content.
“We’re not really a content producer,” he says. “I hope that we can provide more the equivalent of the Comcast of gaming.” Launching off a prompt from The Information, Shear explains that he wants to be the provider to professional eSports content, like Comcast to ESPN. If Twitch became a creator of content, it would be competing with its best content providers — Shear would rather be the conduit of great entertainment in gaming than its author. The young CEO expands on the idea in an interview with Bloomberg. “There’s potential for eSports to be listed in that same pantheon as football and baseball in the states.”
“I hope that we can provide more the equivalent of the Comcast of gaming.” – Emmett Shear, Twitch CEO
It’s a natural expansion for the game streaming company, but its pursuing new avenues of entertainment as well. Just last month, Twitch steamed its first live concert: a set from DJ Steve Aoki. Shear says the experiment was met with “phenomenal” response, and other artists have started looking to Twitch as a music streaming platform. Still, Twitch is expanding its horizons with caution.
“The last thing you want to do is take your eye off what customers really want,” Shear told The Information. “It’s certainly a thing we’re thinking about, but not if it comes at the cost of gaming.” Shear’s biggest concern is losing focus — being too strategic and making a decision that alienates the customers that made Twitch what it is today. “That’s when things go wrong,” he says. “Are we producing stuff that’s awesome still?” He says he turns to Reddit AMAs to find out. The CEO wouldn’t say what his next experiments for Twitch are, but suggests that Amazon understands his vision. The company’s promised autonomy might pay off in the long run. His biggest fear, post-acquisition? “To look back in five years and say, ‘Damn, I sold way too early.’”
[Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Rdio has offered radio-like shuffle listening for quite sometime, but with its latest update, the service looks to be tops in free internet streaming. Across Android, iOS and desktop apps, the tune-minded outfit packs in new features that will help do just that, and it’ll lend subscribers a hand with easily tracking down what they’re after — whether it’s Stations, playlists, full albums or a single song. The free “Stations-first” option claims to offer a library that’s 15 times larger than others with channels for selections based on genres and artists. What’s more, there are also streams based on emotion or activity curated by folks at Rdio, and some handpicked by “tastemakers” (Snoop Dogg was offered as an example). There’s a station that’s unique to each user, too — Billy FM is mine, for example — learning from your listening habits to provide a mix to suit your favorites and yet another that’s populated with tracks from your Collection.
Once you pick a station, you can adjust a slider at points between popular, familiar or favorites on one end and adventurous on the other to further tweak what Rdio will send your way. As you’ve probably guessed by now, Rdio is working alongside Cumulus to provide the free listening via advertising on both mobile and the web. There will also be branded stations where promotional partners control the playlist and the ad content. Macy’s and Home Depot have already signed on, so you can look forward to those two, with many more to come, we’d surmise. Both the curated playlists and an app that continually learns from your habits may sound familiar. Beats Music has collections that are compiled by the likes of Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and others, asking about your music tastes along the way to fill out its Just For You listings.
In addition to the big push for its free streaming option, there’s a revamped Home section that constantly updates with new “stories” based on listening preferences, activity from those tastemakers, what your friends are up to and recommendations from Rdio experts. You can think of “stories” as the “what’s happening” feed that allows you to pick up right where you left off, see what’s trending amongst your mates, peruse comments and more. In the side menu, Trending replaces Heavy Rotation and Top Charts for what’s getting most of the plays across all of Rdio or within your circle of pals. There’s a new Browse option as well, providing easy access to those genre, mood and other themed stations. All of the new features and expanded free radio are rolling out to Android, iOS and web users right now, so you should be able to try for yourself shortly.
Filed under: Software
Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge are Official! Samsung Gear VR will Hopefully Blow Our Minds! – ManDroid Daily
IFA 2014 has kicked off, and a lot of goodies came out today. The Galaxy Note 4 was finally made official, as well as the Galaxy Note Edge. Samsung also showed off the Gear VR, that will bring quite an experience to your home theater experience. If you want to hear most of the things that came out of IFA today, check out the Daily below, or hit the links provided as well.
The post Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge are Official! Samsung Gear VR will Hopefully Blow Our Minds! – ManDroid Daily appeared first on AndroidSPIN.