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4
Oct

Not quite Google Glass: a week with Epson’s awkward smart glasses


I had the full attention of Engadget’s San Francisco office as I unpacked Epson’s latest augmented reality headset, the Moverio BT-200. The glasses make for one heavy, awkward wearable: Coke-bottle thick lenses with inlaid transparent displays hovering in front of each eye. My coworkers and I passed them from desk to desk anyway, snapping goofy images for Instagram and musing over what to do with them. The glasses aren’t Engadget’s typical review fare — it’s not a product intended for consumers, and I wonder out loud how I’m going to explain the lenses to my readers. Without missing a beat, my editor Christopher Trout looks me square in the eye and gives me an answer. “Wear them,” he says. “For a week. That’s an assignment. You’re doing it.” Hoo boy.

As it turns out, that’s easier said than done. If the comparatively subtle frames of Google Glass are enough to cause a social uproar, what kind of hilarious reactions will Epson’s spectacles get? Well, more of the same, but with less of an excuse. My trip to the local cafe was met with nervous laughter, general bewilderment and the expected barrage of questions: “Are you recording me? Is that Google Glass?” Yes and no, respectively.

After a moment’s awkwardness, I mumbled an apologetic explanation. “It’s uh.. I’m testing it for work,” I muttered, trying to describe to the confused barista just what an “Engadget” was and why it required me to wear such goofy headgear. “Well,” she offered, “you look very… dapper.” We both had a good laugh (as did her coworkers) and I read off my wife’s drink request from the Moverio’s heads-up display: green tea latte, whip cream, no sweetener.

I’d worn Google Glass in public before, but this was different. The Moverio left me feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. As I endured the hushed whispers of other diners, it dawned on me why. It isn’t because the BT-200, like all smart glasses, is a glaring faux pas (although it totally is); it’s because I had absolutely no reason to be wearing it. Google’s wearable is designed to fit into a consumer’s daily life: it offers touch- and voice-controlled weather data, navigation routing and notifications from your smartphone. In contrast, Epson’s glasses offer a stock Android homescreen in landscape mode and an awkward handheld control unit.

So, where does the Moverio fit in? Presumably, where it’s designed to: work environments. The unit Epson lent me is outfitted with demo apps designed to assist construction workers, repair technicians, retail managers and even pilots. Some of these were mere concepts — the pilot app imagined a augmented reality flying experience that highlights runways and draws flight paths in front of the user’s vision, for instance — but others bled with potential utility. There was a Mitsubishi-sourced app that could recognize home appliances and overlay repair instructions, complete with simulated 3D parts, and another application to help retail managers organize shelf layouts.

Most of these apps seemed like good ideas, but none of them applied to my life — at least until I booted up Scope AR. Technically, Scope AR didn’t fit my life either: It’s designed to be an augmented reality training solution that teaches the user how to repair an engine, install a carburetor or some other feat that requires specific knowledge. The version of the app Epson gave me, however, was only good for one thing: building Lego helicopters. Truly, this is the future of assembling plastic whirlybirds intended for 5-12 year-old children. Wearing the glasses, I was able to see a digital 3D recreation of my project at the exact step in construction I was attempting to complete. Animated blocks automatically fell into position with each step, wordlessly showing me exactly what I needed to do.

Okay, maybe it’s a unnecessarily complicated method for delivering Lego assembly instructions, but it made the task ridiculously easy and more fun to boot. The experience sold me on Epson’s pitch for an augmented workplace. Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding a place for the glasses outside of that imagined future. To be fair, Epson warned me its smartglasses weren’t designed for consumers. They’re a little heavy, hard to control and have an aggravating tendency to give me headaches, enough so that I failed in my mission: I couldn’t wear them on a daily basis without feeling sick. Still, once I stopped thinking about the Moverio as a Google Glass competitor and recognized it as an enterprise device, its potential was easy to see. The right app could make the device an invaluable tool in construction, security, research, travel and countless other industries — someone just needs to build the right software.

Although my week ended with a reminder I was using a device intended for developers and specific use cases, the potential of the product in the consumer space still lingers. No, you’re never going to buy the Epson BT-200 as a personal toy, but you might see its technology embedded in something you’ll buy in the future. A few months ago I encountered a startup called FUSAR Technologies, a company using Moverio optics to design an augmented reality motorcycle helmet. Think of it: riding down the freeway with a virtual rear-view mirror hovering conveniently in your peripheral vision, perhaps flanked by a speedometer readout. Just like the enterprise demo apps, it uses the smartglasses to improve a specific situation in a specific way. Augmented reality may not be ready for primetime just yet, but I’m looking forward to when it will be.

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4
Oct

Redbox Instant’s streaming video service shuts down on October 7th


Redbox Instant on Google TV

If you thought that Redbox Instant would have trouble competing against a streaming video behemoth like Netflix, you were right. The Verizon-backed service is telling customers that Instant will shut down just before midnight on October 7th, roughly a year and a half after it got off the ground. Should you be a customer, you’ll get a notice about any relevant refunds on October 10th. The closure isn’t entirely surprising — Outerwall (Redbox’s parent company) wasn’t happy with Instant’s subscriber numbers, and a credit card fraud incident prevented it from taking new customers for three months. Still, this isn’t good news if you liked Redbox’s unique hybrid of online and kiosk-based rentals.

[Thanks, Mike]

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Source: Redbox Instant

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4
Oct

For Your Consideration: mobile accessories to check out this weekend (Oct. 4)


for_your_consideration

Welcome back! It’s week two of the accessory round up! We have everything from sd cards to the chromecast.. Check it out!

 

Samsung Micro SD Cards 64, 32, 16

samsungsdcard

Micro SD Cards are an absolute must if you don’t want to worry about the cloud and carry a lot of music and videos with you. Micro SD cards looked like they were going away, but now they are on almost every flagship that came out this year. I have always used Samsung SD cards, and they have some great sales going on right now. Check them out here on Amazon: 16gb, 32gb, and 64gb.


 

LG G Watch/Android Wear

LG_G_Watch_500

One of Android’s newest products – Android Wear, is amazing. If you have an Android phone, it’s worth looking into. I have been using the LG G Watch since mid-July and have been completely satisfied with it. To sum it up: you have access to all of your notifications on your wrist, as well as some apps that can build more functionality in their app. The LG G Watch can be found here. LG g watch.


 

Zero Lemon Extended Battery

s5zerolemon

Phone batteries are getting better and better with every phone that gets released. But sometimes the battery just isn’t good enough. Zero Lemon’s extended batteries will add literally days of life to your device. There is quite a large downside, and that’s the custom case. Since the battery is so big, it comes with a custom made case for each phone. I have a friend that buys these for every phone he has, they are highly recommended. Check them out for the LG G3, Note 3, and the S5 here : LG G3, Note 3, S5


 

Chromecast

chromecast

The Chromecast, the surprise device that came out of Google IO last year has quickly taken off. It has been ranked in the top 5 streaming video items on Amazon since it was released last year. The Chromecast will let you send content from your phone to your t.v. Netflix, Pandora, and HBO Go are just a few of the great apps that work great with Chromecast. We cover the Chromecast, as well as all things Chrome,  extensively on Chromewatching.com, so check it out if you get a chance. The Chromecast can be found on Amazon here: Chromecast


 

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

bose-soundlink-mini_10

I’ve used a couple of different bluetooth speakers, the Bose Soundlink is the best I have heard. The sound that this fairly small device can produce is amazing. It pairs easily with any bluetooth device, and even if the device doesn’t have bluetooth, you will still be able to connect the speaker using an auxiliary cable. Bose claims that the speaker gets 7 hours of battery life, I can say that they are very accurate, the battery life is good. Bose gets a mixed review from people: some people love them, some people think that they aren’t as good. I have personally used the Bose Soundlink, and I am a fan. Check it out on Amazon here: Bose Soundlink

 

 


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The post For Your Consideration: mobile accessories to check out this weekend (Oct. 4) appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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4
Oct

Google Now has your back for Voter Registration Day, too


Vote signs

Google surely has a lot of tricks in store for the Now app: one of the latest to surface, for instance, reminds American voters to register for November’s general elections. Residents in Michigan, Pennsylvania and likely other states recently received Now pop-ups about the registration deadline on October 5th. Some of those who reported seeing the card claimed they haven’t even done a search for anything election-related in recent years, so it’s possible that the app flashes the reminder based on your location. It’s unclear whether this is a national rollout or just something the company’s testing, though, since Google hasn’t officially announced it yet. We first caught a glimpse of this new feature when developer Zhuowei Zhang released his UnleashTheGoogle app in September, which shows all the cards the company’s currently testing. Since among the rather lengthy list is an API called “Election info,” we might see similar Now cards in the future.

[Image credit: Getty/Jupiterimages, Droid Life]

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Source: Droid-Life

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4
Oct

NFL Players Banned From Wearing Beats Headphones on Camera


Thanks to a new marketing deal with Bose, NFL players will no longer be allowed to wear Apple’s line of Beats headphones around television cameras, according to Re/code. The restriction is in place for TV interviews during training camp, practice sessions and game day, running from before the game or event through 90 minutes after play has ended.

Many professional athletes have sponsorship deals with Beats, with the headphones frequently spotted around the necks of players both before and after games. Beats accounts for more than 60 percent of the premium headphone market.

“Over the last few years athletes have written Beats into their DNA as part of the pre-game ritual,” a Beats spokesperson said. “Music can have a significant positive effect on an athlete’s focus and mental preparedness and has become as important to performance as any other piece of equipment.”


Beats, which has seen significant success with its athlete endorsements, ran ads last year with NFL stars Colin Kaepernick and Richard Sherman tuning out opposing fans with Beats noise-canceling headphones.

Something similar happened during the World Cup when headphone sponsor Sony banned Beats from stadiums, but not from outside the arenas where players frequently used their preferred headphones. Many advertising industry experts said Beats still won the day with its star-studded “The Game Before The Game” video, portions of which ran repeatedly during World Cup commercial breaks.




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4
Oct

Recommended Reading: Apple’s Jony Ive talks design and the timepiece


Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

FRANCE-IT-APPLE

A Rare Look at Design Genius Jony Ive: The Man Behind the Apple Watch
by Robert Sullivan,
Vogue

The man behind much of Apple’s design doesn’t often open up for interviews, butfollwoing Cupertino’s Watch reveal, much of the focus has been on the fashion-minded. That said, Jony Ive offered Vogue a bit more on the upcoming wrist-worn device and his aesthetic mindset as a whole — right down to things like the sound a watch band makes as it closes.

The Goodell Blackout
by Bryan Curtis, Grantland

We’ve detailed the FCC no longer protecting the NFL’s long-standing blackout policy, but that’s just one of the issues that Commissioner Roger Goodell faces at the moment. This piece from Grantland discusses the US government’s recent chatter on the league.

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This is How You Build the Scariest Video Game Monster Ever
by Andrew Webster
, The Verge

Alien: Isolation is due to hit consoles and PC next week, and the creature you’ll need to keep at bay in order to survive is frightening. After you read up on their origins, head over to Joystiq for the full review.

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Innovation Nation: Las Vegas
by Nellie Bowles, Re/code

This multi-part series details the $350 million project backed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh that’s transforming downtown Las Vegas and looking to build a startup haven. If you’ve yet to read up on the whole thing, this is a great place to start.

Pocket!function(d,i)if(!d.getElementById(i))var j=d.createElement(“script”);j.id=i;j.src=”https://widgets.getpocket.com/v1/j/btn.js?v=1″;var w=d.getElementById(i);d.body.appendChild(j);(document,”pocket-btn-js”);

What It’s Like to Build a Startup in Gaza as the Bombs Drop
by Armando Cordoba

By now, you’ve likely read a bit about the ongoing unrest in Gaza, but a group of entrepreneurs is still hard at work to bring innovation to the area. Wired offers a look at what startup life is like amidst the disorder.

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[Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images]

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4
Oct

Fanatec has a solution for using its pricey Xbox 360 racing wheels on the One


One of the biggest hassles of upgrading to a new gaming console is that by and large almost all of the accessories and peripherals you bought for the previous one are incompatible. High-end racing-wheel outfit Fanatec isn’t going to leave Xbox gamers high and dry, though. The outfit’s recently announced that it’ll soon release a “Fanatec wheel base” that allows you to plug in its existing lines of pricey Xbox 360 racing wheels, shifters and pedal sets into it and use them with Microsoft’s newest gaming system. The outfit’s also apparently closed a licensing deal with Redmond to bring new racing gear to the Xbox One as well. Considering the newly released Forza Horizon 2 and the upcoming The Crew and Project Cars, this should all be good news to virtual gearheads. Here’s to hoping a company steps up and does something similar for PlayStation 4 owners soon, too.

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Source: Fanatec (Facebook)

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4
Oct

Terra Battle will launch globally on October 9th on Android and iOS



Terra BattleWe learnt about Terra Battle a few months ago after it was announced Mistwalker, the games studio created by the father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, would be working on the tactical title for mobile devices. We’re now past the September release window that was originally stated in the announcement, but Mistwalker has today announced that Terra Battle will be officially released on October 9th for Android and iOS devices. The tactics game happens in 2D and is all about position, as this appears to be the only way that damage can be dealt. Check out this short gameplay clip to get a taste of what that looks like:

It doesn’t look like it’s going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but it appears Mistwalker is pretty confident its fanbase are going to love it. So much so that they have subscribed to a crowdfunding-like system called “Download Starter” which allows them to release more content as more people download the game. At 2 million downloads, a console version of the game will be developed, and Mistwalker vehemently affirms that the console version won’t just be a port. It is mentioned that there will be over 150 characters for players to choose from, but whether all 150 are available on launch, or if they will be trickled out as part of the Download Starter hasn’t been specified. The game will be available for free with in-app purchases available.


What do you think about Terra Battle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Polygon


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The post Terra Battle will launch globally on October 9th on Android and iOS appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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4
Oct

Strongbad is back and he’s rapping about fisheye lenses


We knew that the gang at Homestar Runner was coming back, and now that they’re here it’s hard not to be a little excited. In their triumphant return, Coach Z and Strongbad (pictured above) take a kind-hearted jab at ’90s rap videos and their predilection for fisheye lenses. How? With a rap clip of their own, naturally. It sounds impossible, sure, but the new clip almost feels like a warm hug from the internet.

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Via: The Verge

Source: Homestar Runner

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4
Oct

Apple’s old DRM policies are about to go on trial


iPod

Once upon a time, music purchased in Apple’s iTunes store was saddled with a DRM technology called “FairPlay.” It did just what you’d expect: keep unauthorized computers and devices from playing music purchased on the service. It’s gone from Apple’s music store now (but can still be found in eBooks and apps), but it’s still making waves: Apple is facing a $350 million anti-trust suit claiming the DRM was used to stifle market competition.

The case has been brewing for years, but was only recently approved to move forward for a jury trial. The plaintiff’s lawyers (who represent a class of customers affected by the accusations) argue that Apple used FairPlay to forcefully “lock in” customers to its own ecosystem by making it difficult for them to jump ship to another platform. Real Network’s music store (circa 2004) is repeatedly used as an example: updates to Apple FairPlay consistently blocked songs purchased on RealPlayer from being transferred to iPods. This system also limited where songs purchased on iTunes could be played — if someone wanted to switch out of Apple’s ecosystem, they’d have to re-buy all their old music.

The sum, the plaintiffs argue, is that Apple intentionally made it difficult for its customers to leave its ecosystem, bolstering its own monopoly in portable music players and violating anti-trust laws. Apple says there’s no evidence that its decade-old squabble with Real had any notable effect on iPod pricing or dominance, pointing out that Real only cornered a mere 3-percent of the market at the time. It’s an interesting argument, but it wasn’t enough to stop the trial from moving forward. Apple’s old DRM will have its day in court on November 17th.

[Image credit: strollers/Flickr]

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Source: ArsTechnica, AMLaw

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