A fair amount of updates are expected over the coming weeks as Android 5.0 Lollipop revamps the recommended design for applications. Of course, Google leads the way by updating its stock apps first. Here we have Play Games getting an update that brings the brand new Material Design look. When Google rolls out updates to its apps, it can take a very long time for it to reach everyone; therefore, you can go ahead and grab the file and do take care of everything yourself. That way you can enjoy the new flatter, more animated look of Play Games as quickly as possible.
Come comment on this article: [APK Download] Play Games gets the Material Design treatment
If you’re hankering for a taste of Android L but don’t have a Nexus device to install the SDK on, you can check out its awesome new keyboard, which is now available for almost any Android-powered device running Ice Cream Sandwich or later.
A third-party developer has extracted the keyboard APK from an official Android L developer preview build and made it available to download from a secure file sharing website. It’s free, has no ads, and does not require root access.
Hit the break for the download link and instructions on how to install the file on your smartphone/tablet.
Installing the keyboard is easy. Simply navigate to this page, tap the download button and click install when you’re prompted to do so. You may have to allow installations from third-party sources if you haven’t already. To do this head into settings, then security and check the box entitled ‘Unknown sources’ and you’re good to go.
If you happen to run into any issues along the way do be sure to drop a comment in the section below, and we’ll do our very best to get you back on track.
Come comment on this article: Lollipop’s keyboard can now be installed on any Android device without root
Alongside Play Games, the Play Movies & TV app is getting a new look. The app has been flattened and there are now large graphics for content. The icon has been altered and the red color found throughout the app is brighter with the update. Rather than waiting for the update with Material Design in the Play Store, you can download the file yourself.
Come comment on this article: [APK Download] Play Movies & TV joins the fun with Material Design update
The newly refreshed Mac mini is seeing improved single-core performance over the previous models, but decreased multi-core performance, according to a newly released GeekBench benchmark. John Poole of Primate Labs says that the upper tier Late 2012 Mac minis, which had quad-core Ivy Bridge processors, saw better multi-core performance than the new Late 2014 models, which have dual-core Haswell processors.
Unlike single-core performance multi-core performance has decreased significantly. The “Good” model (which has a dual-core processor in both lineups) is down 7%. The other models (which have a dual-core processor in the “Late 2014″ lineup but a quad-core processor in the “Late 2012″ lineup) is down from 70% to 80%.
Poole notes that Apple may have switched to dual-core processors in some Late 2014 Mac minis because Haswell dual-core processors use one socket to connect the logic board and processor while Haswell quad-core processors use different sockets. This would mean Apple would have to design and build two separate logic boards specifically for the Mac mini, while other Macs use the same logic boards across their individual line.
This trade-off didn’t exist with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors because both of its dual-core and quad-core processors used the same socket. Another option, according to Poole, is that Apple could have went quad-core across its new Mac mini line, but it would have made it difficult for Apple to hit the $499 price point.
Despite the decreased quad-core performance, the single-core performance of the new Mac mini is in line with other Macs’ performance jumps from Ivy Bridge to Haswell.
Base configurations for the Mac mini are currently available for purchase on Apple’s online store with pricing starting at $499 and will ship in one to three days. Custom configurations ship within three to five days.
Tech aficionados have been flocking to Seattle’s Living Computer Museum for the past few years to get up close and personal with relics from computer technology’s past. For one night earlier this month, though, I got a chance to peek at its possible future. Nearly two dozen exhibitors filled the museum’s first floor for SEA VR, an invite-only event meant to highlight some of the field’s biggest names and showcase the VR community.
Envelop VR played host for the evening, in part, to introduce itself. The new company is looking to both develop its own VR software and help other companies come to grips with what CEO Bob Berry called the next great wave of computing. In gathering some of the VR community’s brightest stars to the Pacific Northwest, the hope, he said, is to establish the Seattle area as a VR hub.
“Seattle is a hotbed of video game development,” Berry said. “It’s going to be a hotbed of VR development.”
Berry moved to Japan in 1998 to study VR as part of his Ph.D. work. After getting a good look at what passed for “state of the art” in the VR world of the late ’90s, he quickly realized virtual reality just wasn’t ready yet. It was only in the last year or so, he said, that various technologies started combining to make VR feasible — headlined, of course, by Oculus’ work. The next major step, he added, is developing and refining software that takes advantage of those hardware advancements.
Attendees check out Oculus VR’s DK2 headset.
But words can only convey so much. As Berry notes, with virtual reality: Seeing is believing. And there was plenty to at SEA VR. Oculus was there showcasing its Development Kit 2 (DK2) headsets, but its gear wasn’t confined to the company’s demo area.
Atomic VR’s holodeck-style setup featured an older DK1 headset and a camera array to track users in one corner of the museum. A pair of PlayStation Move controllers became virtual
lightsabers “energy swords” in a battle with a floating droid. After employees helped me put on the headset, equipment-filled backpack and headphones, I set about exploring the demo’s virtual arena.
The lag between my movements and those shown onscreen was noticeable, but hardly a distraction. After a few seconds, I was successfully blocking incoming laser blasts with my swords and dodging slow-moving missiles. The full-body tracking kept up admirably and I never felt disoriented — a significant plus considering the limited area I could explore.
“VR’s going to impact various industries; not just entertainment.”
Still, the relatively low-resolution screens and the buzz of the show floor prevented me from reaching the level of “presence” that VR developers strive to attain. Atomic VR mentioned that it hopes to increase realism when it switches to Oculus’ more advanced DK2 kit — including the use of haptic feedback in the vest and possibly the floor to provide a more immersive simulation.
The game-like applications are obvious, but the company envisions similar setups in showrooms at retailers like Home Depot, where customers can preview home remodels and landscaping projects before breaking out the hammers and shovels.
“VR’s going to impact various industries; not just entertainment,” Berry said. One look at the show floor was enough to prove that statement. While there were plenty of examples of VR as a gaming tool, there were exhibitors using it in other settings, too.
Leap Motion showed off its finger-tracking tech.
Retailer Nordstrom showcased its Virtual Customer Experience Center, created by the company’s Innovation Labs. The software complements a real-world Customer Experience Center housed in a renovated warehouse not far from the Living Computer Museum. The Innovation Lab’s virtual version lets designers use tools like Unity and 3ds Max to create and try out new floor layouts, store designs and other physical structures before committing to actually building anything.
Elsewhere on the show floor, DeepStream VR demonstrated its work in pain research and using 3D and VR to aid in patient rehabilitation.
“The virtual world is a motivator,” DeepStream VR CEO and founder Howard Rose said. The company has been exploring different methods of incorporating virtual reality into therapy, including combining a treadmill-walking regimen with a projected screen so patients can go on a “walking meditation” through a computer-generated trail.
The company also showed off its DeepStream 3D Viewer, a shroud that attaches to a laptop screen, a Retina display MacBook Pro in this case, to provide panoramic 3D movies and environments. The viewer splits the screen into a pair of 2,600 x 900 images — one for each eye. Users can adjust the eyepieces as they would for a pair of binoculars and a nearby Leap Motion controller is used to interact with the world. In one example, I used my left hand to gather fireflies to fill a lantern. Rose said using an attachment to a laptop screen (and, later, tablets) can sometimes make more sense than the headset approach Oculus and others are taking.
DeepStream VR’s 3D Viewer attached to a Retina display MacBook Pro.
When it comes to patients struggling with constant pain, he said, “Helmets don’t work very well.” Indeed, placing my face up to the 3D Viewer’s eyepieces and manipulating objects with a Leap Motion controller was a great deal easier than strapping on a headset and grasping physical input devices.
A quick scan across the show floor makes it clear there’s no single way to approach VR. While Oculus’ gear was certainly prevalent at various booths, Kinect sensors, GoPro cameras, PS Moves and Leap Motion Controllers spread throughout the area indicate that developers are still very much in the exploration and experimentation phase.
And while some companies are working to create fantastical environments filled with spaceships and lightsabers, others are figuring out ways to showcase parts of the real world. In one corner of the show floor, Jaunt offered up a multi-scene demo of its real-world VR capture tech. Its approach includes a multi-camera setup to record 3D video in all directions. After putting on the headset and over-ear headphones, I started out with a scene from a skate/bike park, as a bike-riding enthusiast whizzed around me. I could turn my head in practically any direction to keep track of him, while positional audio accurately clued me in to where he was.
“The VR community needs to collaborate … No company, not even (Oculus) can do it alone.”
A later scene of the Golden Gate Bridge demonstrated the powerful effect accurate audio can have in VR. Wind noise was present throughout the area, but I had no trouble pinpointing a ship’s horn blaring on the far right. I turned my head completely away from the vessel and, sure enough, the horn sounded like it was coming from behind me. Clearly, high-resolution displays aren’t the only requirement for convincing VR presence.
One thing was readily apparent at SEA VR and it didn’t require a headset or fancy camera setup. It was a sense of community. From booth to booth, company representatives chatted with one another, happily trying out competitors’ gear and sharing notes. I got the sense that many of the attendees are motivated more by the fun of experimentation and discovery than they are by the thrill of ruthless competition.
To Rose, it reminds him of the early stages of the internet, “when it was fun and exciting.” Seeing companies explore VR from different angles and coming up with new solutions, he said, is part of what he loves about the virtual reality community right now. After numerous false starts over the past few decades, it’s this cooperative, diverse approach, he said, that will be key if VR is truly going to be the next big thing.
“The VR community needs to collaborate,” Rose said. “No company, not even (Oculus) can do it alone.”
Back in September, Sony announced PS4 Remote Play — a revolutionary new feature which equips users with the facility to take a PlayStation 4 controller and stream games from their console to an Xperia smartphone or tablet that supports the service.
At the time, the Japanese company revealed that the application would be an exclusive to the Xperia Z3, Z3 Compact and Z3 Tablet Compact. But now, thanks to a blunder on the ‘Xperia Lounge’ app, it appears that Remote Play will be coming to the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet after all, when the app launches next month.
Hit the break below to see the slip-up in all its glory.
Source: Xperia Blog
Come comment on this article: Sony accidentally confirms PS4 Remote Play is en route to Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet
In less than nine days, Motorola will be unveiling another handset to put on the market. This one, however, is expected to be a carrier exclusive. We are talking about the DROID Turbo that is heading straight to Verizon. A few images were found within the coding for the Verizon’s page teasing the device. It shows the device in black and in red. Regardless of the back panel color, the front remains black.
Hit the break for more.
Come comment on this article: Motorola DROID Turbo for Verizon leaks once again, this time in black and red
Yup, this week was a little crazy, but a good crazy. Google announced the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player (Android TV) and kicked off the “Be together. Not the same.” campaign. That wasn’t it as Android L was officially named Android Lollipop and given 5.0 for the version. The OTA update won’t take place till next month, but the developer preview is already live. We reviewed the Galaxy Note 4 and were quite impressed. Nearby multiplayer hits Google Play Games and more Google apps adopt Material Design. The DROID Turbo gets a launch date, and so much more. It’s time to get caught up and get ready for what is sure to be another exciting week in the Android world.
Apps – New
Apps – Updates
Phones – ASUS
Phones – HTC
Phones – Huawei
Phones – LG
Phones – Motorola
Phones – Nexus
Phones – Oppo
Phones – Samsung
Phones – Sony
Come comment on this article: TalkAndroid Weekly Recap for October 13 – October 19, 2014
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
Why can’t Tesla‘s sales model catch a break? The automaker is paving the way for the future of electric vehicles, however states keep stepping in the way. This week, Michigan passed legislation that essentially bans Tesla from selling cars in the state due to a last-minute addition by a legislator who receives contributions from the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. In other transportation news, Italy has long been the Mecca of souped-up sports cars, but surprisingly the country has never produced a fully electric supercar. That all could change soon, now that the Italian company Tecnicar has unveiled a new electric car with a 789-horsepower electric motor.
Meanwhile, back here in the US, General Motors is working on a slightly less glamorous, but probably far more practical, all-electric vehicle with a range of 200 miles. Details about the new EV are scarce, but it’s expected to carry a price tag of about $30,000. What would the roads look like if bikes took up as much space as cars do? Last month, a group of Latvian cycling advocates rigged up car-shaped frames to their bikes for a visual demonstration of how much space cars take up. On the public transit front, Marc Mimram just unveiled plans for a light- and garden-filled train station in Montpellier, France. The gorgeous new TGV station will feature an ultralight roof crafted from a fiber-reinforced, high-performance concrete. Also in France, Barcelona-based architecture firm EMBT and architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc have been selected to design two new train stations in Paris. And Inhabitat recently launched its annual Halloween costume contest — this year’s grand prize is a Vanmoof B6 Bike worth $848.
Wind is all around us. It’s powerful, plentiful and, oh yes, cheap: This week, the European Commission found that onshore wind power provides the cheapest source of energy. When hidden costs, like air quality and health impacts are taken into account, wind energy costs $133 per MW/h to produce — while coal costs $295 per MW/h. In other clean energy news, researchers have developed a super-efficient battery that can charge to 70 percent capacity in just two minutes, and it lasts 20 times longer than a typical battery. The battery, which could charge a car in just 15 minutes, could reach the market in just two years. Are we on the cusp of a fusion energy revolution? Last week, Lockheed Martin announced a major breakthrough in fusion technology that could provide the world with clean, affordable energy. Buildings are some of the biggest energy consumers, but architect Vincent Callebaut is turning that trend on its head by designing a cluster of skyscrapers that actually produce more energy than they consume. Callebaut’s DNA-inspired Citytree towers combine passivhaus principles with renewable energy technology. And Czech architects Atelier 8000 designed a solar-powered cabin in the mountains of northern Slovakia that looks like a huge ice cube.
3D printing appears to have limitless potential — both on Earth and in space. Last week, news broke that a team of British amateurs is about to launch the world’s first 3D-printed rocket. It took 30 team members — including doctorate aeronautical engineers — four years to complete the project. Meanwhile, designer Kovács Apor has dreamed up a device that could turn used plastic bottles into brand-new clothes. It’s called the Pete, and it’s one of six finalists in this year’s Electrolux Design Lab competition. Did you know that if you drop a brick in the back of your toilet, it could save your household up to 50 gallons of water per week? But there’s a problem: Standard bricks crumble and disintegrate, causing plumbing problems. To solve that, one company created Drop-a-Brick, a rubber, brick-shaped option that’s filled with eco-friendly hydro gel that solidifies when water is added to it. In lighting news, PEGA Design & Engineering has created a new lamp that can mimic the color of any object, allowing you to customize your lighting to fit the mood of a room. The world has been rather captivated with news of Mars One, a Dutch plan to develop a permanent settlement on Mars. But researchers at MIT poured some cold water on the plan this week. A new paper identifies several deathtraps within the proposed habitat system, and it suggests that the first astronaut fatality could occur as early as day 68 due to low oxygen levels in the artificial environment. Tech companies are generally pretty progressive, but activists are taking e-commerce giant eBay to task for supporting climate change denial. The group Forecast the Facts is calling for eBay to step down from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a group the supports teaching climate change denial in schools.