Samsung’s Galaxy A5 device leaked in pictures and specs
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha, one of the nicest looking phones Samsung has ever released, is now the inspiration behind the new Samsung “A” line of devices. The first device in this line will be called the A5, and it is the start of something good.
Details for the Samsung A5 have been leaked by sammobile.com. The device will be considered a mid-range device with a 5-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a 13-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 2,330 mAh battery, 16GB of expandable storage, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.
The most interesting thing here will be with the material that Samsung uses to make the device. The A5 won’t be made of metal, or plastic. According to Sammobile’s source, it will be a material that feels just like metal, but it will be as cheap to manufacture like plastic.
If samsung can find the sweet spot between the very popular S line and the premium look and feel of the Alpha device, They will be looking at a great line of devices.
Let us know what you think of this new phone, the Samsung A5.
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The post Samsung’s Galaxy A5 device leaked in pictures and specs appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Microsoft pushes back the Xbox One’s launch in China
Bad news if you were hoping to pick up an Xbox One in Beijing next week: Microsoft has just delayed the game system’s launch in China from September 23rd to sometime before the end of the year. The company isn’t saying just prompted the last-minute pushback, but it claims that it needs extra time to offer “first rate gaming and entertainment experiences” — in short, something is still pretty rough around the edges. Whatever the reasons, Chinese gamers will have to wait a little while longer to get their first major console since the country lifted its years-long ban on fun-minded machines like this.
Filed under: Gaming, Microsoft
Aether’s Cone speaker is a fresh spin on music streaming
The first HiFi I had all to myself was a hand-me-down Sony music center (something like this). It was a mix of faux-wood panels and brushed metal, with three media options: cassette, vinyl and radio. Then the ’90s mainstay “all-in-one” HiFi (and CD!) became my main music hub for many years. These days, it’s a very different game. If you’re not running a networked system, connected to your favorite streaming services, then, frankly, you’re doing it wrong. But, what if you don’t want an all-encompassing solution from the likes of Sonos or Bang & Olufsen? You could go with Bluetooth speakers, but that’s a whole different proposition altogether (and a bit of a minefield). Then there’s the Cone by Aether. It’s portable, networked and works with streaming services. At $400 (the same price as Sonos’ Play:5 speaker), it’s going to have to have a few tricks up it’s sleeve to lure in potential buyers. I have a fairly large gap in my music room though — can this fill it?
At its most basic, Cone is a (nice-looking) portable AirPlay speaker. But that’s underselling it somewhat. It also learns what you like to listen to (and when), and it lets you use voice commands to request music directly. You can use an iPhone app to choose songs in a more traditional manner, but that’s less exciting. It’s also a bit of a lifestyle device. One look at the Cone and its iconic shape and metal-detail finish, and you get the impression this wouldn’t be out of place in a Scandinavian interior design catalog.
The user experience is just as manicured. It’s simple to set up through an iOS app — which connects it to your home WiFi and Rdio account (more services are coming). The controls are equally sparse. The front of the speaker is a rotating dial. Press the circle in the center to start playing music. Gently turn it clockwise, and it’ll play another song of a similar style. Turn it faster, and it’ll play a different genre. On top are metal buttons for volume up and down. You can choose songs directly from the app, as I mentioned, but the party piece is the Siri-esque voice control. Long-press the center button, bark your request and hey, presto, it plays. At least, that’s the theory.
The problem I usually have with streaming services (before I’ve even gotten to hardware) is my terrible taste in music. Or rather, just how confused it is. Most music platforms roughly do recommendations like this: “Oh, you like Stevie Wonder? Here’s some Diana Ross.” The problem is, I must be the only Steve Wonder fan on Earth who also likes Partyraiser, Crystal Castles, Sheep on Drugs, endless Drum & Bass mixes, The Clash, Duke Ellington, Primus, Sonic Youth, Run-D.M.C. and so on. No algorithm has been able to make sense of any of that. With Cone, I was a little more hopeful. It learns from what you tell it, and you can skip tracks you don’t like for something totally different, hopefully giving it more direct feedback.
Over the first week, I definitely found myself skipping tracks far more often than having them play through. Then again, I actually discovered some new music I did like, so it wasn’t a total loss. After a couple of duff runs (Donny Hathaway can keep his “Flying Easy,” and I’m not sold on Loudon Wainwright’s “Lullaby” either), it started to play more hits than skips. I coaxed it toward some Motown, starting with “Upside Down” (Yes, I know that’s Diana Ross, but it just makes me go all wriggly). From there, I got treated to some Average White Band and Marvin Gaye. But we’re back to fairly safe bets. Time to mix it up. I decided to request some very diverse tracks to give it a real feel for how contrasting my tastes can be. “Delusion” by Outblast and Angerfist (that drop at 46 seconds, oh my!). This was followed by Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” (dat solo) among others. This seemed to inject a little vitality into the predictions.
What I learned most is that Cone isn’t a fan of Dutch hardcore (along with everyone else I know, to be fair). This point was driven home further when it came time to test out the voice commands. You can apparently ask Cone to “play me such-and-such song by such-and-such artist” or “Play me some Madonna” — that kind of thing. This actually works fairly well — if you have mainstream taste in music. Watch the video below where I give it a fairly broad range of music requests and you’ll see that, like your mom, it knows the classics. But ask for anything a bit edgier, and it starts to lose the thread. Also, song titles with punctuation (like remixes, collaborations with names in brackets) seem to pose a problem too. I should point out: I checked in advance that every song I was going to ask for was available on Rdio.
What I learned next (or, rather, what I confirmed that I already knew), was that recommending music is a fine art. We might have favorite styles, bands and songs, along with certain listening patterns, but the human condition is such that there’s often no rhyme or reason why I suddenly fancy listening to random bits of Public Enemy or (warning, this link immediately starts with colorful language) Top Buzz live at Universe Big Love. An algorithm can sometimes throw up something that matches these flights of fancy, and if it learns you mostly like UK Garage on a Tuesday morning, that’s cool too. This isn’t a new problem either. Radio DJs are effectively the same thing — a human algorithm, if you will — and I’ve never liked the radio much. I’d prefer to choose my own music.
My musical navel-gazing aside, there are, of course, people with logical, coherent tastes in music. There are, I hear, people that like the radio. Or Rdio. For those people, Cone is going to be great. There are many things to like. The fact you can keep a “vibe” going by staying with a musical style is a nice touch. I love that you can just as easily mix things up by giving the wheel a hearty spin. Even the voice requests can be fun. When it gets it right, you feel futuristic; when it gets it wrong, you might discover something entirely new. Then there’s the fact that it looks rather nice, and, most importantly sounds good. If it feels strange that I have only given the sound a cursory mention, then that’s because I believe Aether isn’t solving a HiFi problem here (though it does that too); it’s tackling a different one. Cone tries to take the friction out of enjoying music, and it has all the tools to do just that. It’s just that I’m a little bit awkward. That said, it occurs to me as I write this, I’m going over some old Hendrix classics I’d not heard in years. All thanks to Cone. So…
Filed under: Home Entertainment
The next Oculus Rift headset is ‘Crescent Bay’ and sports built-in audio
Oculus VR has a new headset. CEO Brendan Iribe showed the prototype, dubbed Crescent Bay, off today at the first Oculus Connect conference. It has built-in audio, it’s lighter and packs 360-degree motion tracking. Iribe says that the jump between the new headset and the previous developer kit (DK) is as dramatic as the jump between DK1 and the recently shipped DK2. Of course, it has a higher resolution screen and refresh rate, but the focus on this version though, seems to be audio. The headset sports onboard headphones (that apparently can be removed if you’d rather use your own), and custom audio software (with help from the University of Maryland) to make “presence” much more convincing. “We’re working on audio as aggressively as we’re working on the vision side,” Iribe said. Which makes sense, considering that audio is at least half of the experience for most entertainment.
Filed under: Desktops, Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD
Source: Oculus Blog
Verizon has activated voice over LTE support for the iPhone 6
When Verizon launched its “Advanced Calling 1.0″ feature earlier this month (read: voice over LTE), it only worked with two phones: The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2. Now the company can add the iPhone to that list, well, at least the iPhone 6. Verizon customers who upgraded to Cupertino’s latest handset are reporting that VoLTE is working on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A user on the MacRumors forum said he had to activate the feature in his phone’s cellular menu first, but afterwards was able to make calls freely. It’s also notable that he called a landline — previously, the feature was only said to work between compatible Verizon phones. Is it working for you? Fire up your new handset (if you’re into that brand), and let us know in the comments.
Filed under: Cellphones, Apple, Verizon
The 10 phones that fueled the big-screen revolution
It’s safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones — they’ve become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn’t happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most important examples — head on over to our gallery see how enormous became the new normal.
Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, Dell
Google for iOS updated with TV recommendations, better transit cards
We know, all your friends rushing out to buy new iPhones and you’re stuck with that ‘outdated’ iPhone 5s you just bought. That’s what happens when you go swimming without checking your pockets first. Still, it’s not all bad: there’s a Google for iOS update available, and it’s completely free! In addition to promising faster search results, this minor update adds “What to Watch” TV recommendations to Google’s list of content cards. Tend to watch your television at a friends house? No worries — the update has added multiple route options to transit cards, too. You’ll get there in no time.
Filed under: Cellphones, Google
Sony brings Video Unlimited to Mac and PC browsers everywhere
A lack of its own new PCs to use the service on isn’t stopping Sony from bringing its Video Unlimited platform to the web. As the beleaguered electronics outfit notes on the PlayStation Blog of all places, it’s playing catch-up king once again and no longer requiring users to download and launch a separate app to peruse their content library on desktop. Now all you need to do is hit the “watch now” button from the Sony Entertainment Network store’s website to check out anything you’ve rented or purchased. So long as the service is available in your region to begin with, you can use web streaming. The move away from a proprietary application also means that the service is finally available on Macs as well — you know, in case you aren’t into that whole iTunes fad.
Filed under: Desktops, Home Entertainment, Internet, HD, Sony
Source: PlayStation Blog
Google’s easing back on G+ sign-ups for new email accounts
Need to make a new Gmail account but don’t want to deal with creating a mandatory Google+ profile to go with it? Don’t sweat it, because Mountain View’s removed that requirement to join its ailing social network, and once again signing up for the search giant’s email service takes you directly to the inbox without any fuss. As evidenced in marketing blog Wordstream‘s screenshot below, however, you’ll still need a G+ account if you want to futz around with the rest of Google’s services. Meaning, if leaving reviews for apps or media in Google Play and uploading videos to YouTube is totally your bag, you’ll have to take the plunge and “upgrade” your Gmail account regardless. Still, for those who just need to create a burner email address to give out to less-than-trustworthy websites, the process is a bit less annoying now.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]
Filed under: Desktops, Internet, Google
Via: Marketing Land
YouTube throws a lot more money at Originals content partners
Google has gone on record as saying it loves original YouTube content like Epic Rap Battles of History, and now it looks as though the outfit is doubling down on such. How so? Well it seems that its fully-stocked studio spaces for partners are just the beginning. YouTube is investing millions into its partner channels, according to Recode. And it’s part of a more concerted push into different types of content, replete with varying lengths and formats, too. That includes partnering with Hollywood producers, according to Recode‘s sources, which naturally gives Google something to sell. The wording on head of YouTube Originals Alex Carloss’ blog post makes it sound like the firm’s existing pool of talent will be commissioned to do new shows — albeit with a heavier infusion of cash than they’re used to. It sounds like it could be a solid deal for everyone involved: affording content creators more money for their work and pushing YouTube’s hopes of becoming a more TV-like experience another step closer to reality.
[Image credit: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images]
Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD, Google
Source: YouTube Blog, Recode