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4
Nov

Chris Hadfield’s zero-gravity cover of ‘Space Oddity’ returns to YouTube


When Chris Hadfield left the International Space Station, he performed a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity for the world to enjoy. Unfortunately, the Canadian Space Agency only had a license to distribute the track for a year, and after that it had to be pulled from YouTube. Thankfully, all the parties concerned have been working together to un-knot the various legal issues concerning performance rights in the upper atmosphere. Now, the astronaut has taken to his blog to announce that the video has been given a two-year extension and can now be watched once again – unless, of course, you just ripped it the first time it was up, in which case you probably didn’t notice that it was gone.

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Via: The Verge

Source: Chris Hadfield

4
Nov

Football training could soon get a boost from virtual reality


So far, the gaming and entertainment industries have welcomed the modern VR craze with open arms. In sports, however, that adoption hasn’t been particularly prominent. Here’s where EON Sports VR hopes to come in, starting with football, one of the most popular sports in the US. With a newly launched Kickstarter, and backed by legendary NFL coach Mike Ditka, the Kansas City, Missouri-based startup wants to integrate virtual reality into football training. Using a smartphone-powered VR headset (similar to the Gear VR), known as the Dive Sport, the goal is to build different coaching experiences for players that are “as fun as video games,” yet as “serious as training camp.”

Just as well, EON Sports VR has its Sidekiq software to go with the novel hardware, a football simulator that teams can use to create plays and scenarios in virtual reality — in fact, the software is already being used by coaches across the country, only without the headset.

Training drills will obviously be one of the most common uses for the Dive Sport, and there are a lot of people who know the sport very well involved with the project. Among them is Ditka, best known for turning the Chicago Bears into one of the most feared teams in the NFL during the ’80s. “EON Sports is revolutionizing football in the way you study the game, the way you understand your opponent and the way you prepare,” says Ditka. “And you will have a visual of it, which is much better than film [in] doing in certain situations. It’s revolutionary and unbelievable.”

Brendan Reilly, CEO of EON Sports VR, told me that, if successfully funded, “there are a lot of social aspects we’d like to integrate in the mobile version that go beyond just this Kickstarter.”

“It’s pretty unbelievable how everything has come into place so far. [The] first domino to fall was the fact that rendering complex interactive environments can now be done on your smartphone. Second was in getting such an positive response from the coaching community and having guys like Mike Ditka, Terry Shea and Steve Clarkson, among others, not only want to work with us, but [also] provide us with a wealth of knowledge at how this technology can help football players,” he added.

“Our goal of $50,000 is the minimum amount needed to make this happen,” Reilly says, “but we have much higher aspirations than just that.”

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Source: EON Sports VR (Kickstarter)

4
Nov

Five questions for the creator of Google’s modular smartphone


It’s been just over a year since Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division announced Project Ara, a full-scale effort to produce the world’s very first modular smartphone. The team has been working hard and fast to get a unit on the market before the end of its two-year mission, and it’s progressing quite nicely: We recently saw a functional “Spiral 1″ prototype running on Android, and the next version — “Spiral 2″ — should be getting into developers’ hands later this year. Paul Eremenko, who heads up the Ara team, will be onstage at Engadget Expand with me for a live demonstration and fireside chat. We’ll catch up on how things are progressing, how Ara has evolved since its inception, the most interesting use cases for a modular smartphone he’s seen so far and also discuss the next Developer Conference, scheduled for January 14th, 2015, in Mountain View, California. In anticipation of his appearance at Expand, I reached out to Eremenko for a quick Q&A about Ara.

Has the public and developer interest met or exceeded your expectations?

The developer interest in the Ara platform has vastly exceeded our expectations. In terms of consumer interest, I am not sure yet. Most of our public discourse has been aimed at and with developers. And although some consumers have clearly started to opine on the product — mostly positively, as you note — we haven’t really started that conversation in a major way since we are still formulating our plans for our market pilot.

Developer interest in the Ara platform has vastly exceeded our expectations.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about the wireless industry since you began Ara?

Just how much untapped potential for innovation there is … just waiting to be unleashed.

When you started the project, you didn’t know what kinds of things developers would think up. What is the craziest/wackiest use case (or module) you’ve seen for Ara so far?

A module with little rubber wheels that lets your phone run away from you, spin in place, etc. That’s definitely the wackiest. But also a lot of really interesting ideas in the personal medical diagnostics and personal environmental-monitoring space.

Why hasn’t a modular smartphone been done before?

We are certainly not the first to think of a modular phone. I think two things are different now. First, we are approaching this as a free and open platform. We have no aspirations to make and sell our own modules. We profit by our developers’ success. Second, we believe that we are at a technological inflection point where Moore’s law and other miniaturization trends in electromechanical systems have gotten us to a point where the overhead — the power and volume penalty — due to modularity is down in the 25 percent range at the system level. We think this is acceptable to most users in exchange for deep customization and being able to access an immensely innovative hardware ecosystem. That wasn’t true before.

We have no aspirations to make and sell our own modules. We profit by our developers’ success.

What is the most unexpected challenge you’ve faced since starting the project?

Making developer hardware. I seriously underestimated the difficulty of making hardware development kits that are flexible, robust, well-documented and developer-friendly. So we missed a couple of self-imposed deadlines to get Spiral 1 dev boards into developer hands this fall, though thankfully Spiral 2 hardware looks on track for later this year.

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4
Nov

Amazon lends Prime perks to other online retailers


Amazon.com Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings Figures

In an effort to get Prime in more places around the web, Amazon announced its first effort with an outside retailer today. AllSaints, a British clothing retailer, is the first to opt in to the online shopping giant’s paid membership. Customers can sign-in and pay with an Amazon account all while the same free next shipping that comes from shopping at the mothership (with no minimum purchase). AllSaints products show up in search results on Amazon, but the transaction happens at its own site, and it handles the logistics. “Prime could be the VIP pass to the Internet,” AllSaints’ Rich Ascott told Recode.

The deal appears to me more like an ad agreement: Amazon doesn’t take a cut of sales, but instead charges a fee each time a shopper clicks through from its listings. As you might expect, other retailers have been hesitant to sign on, not wanting to water down brands by having them show up next to discounted options. Of course, this news comes on the heels of Amazon adding unlimited photo storage for Prime members at no extra charge. We’ll have to wait and see if the annual subscription will indeed unlock access all over the interwebs, but Bezos & Co. are certainly hard at work adding more benefits to pad the user count.

[Photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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Source: Recode

4
Nov

Verykool SL5000 Quantum 4G LTE GSM SIM Unlocked Android Phone [Hands-On]



Over the last year or so I have been looking around at some of the smaller device manufacturers. The ones that aren’t in carrier stores. The kind that aren’t exceptionally hard on the wallet and usually considered more low-end to mid-range. I recently had the opportunity to review the Verykool s505 spark, which was a dual-sim unlocked phone. It worked quite well when you considered its price tag, components and trade-offs, but if you need faster than 3G speeds, it just wasn’t going to happen. Shortly after the launch of the Spark, Verykool released a 4G LTE device carrying the SL5000 Quantum name.

Verykool SL5000 Quantum

The Quantum brings a few changes over the non 4G LTE Spark. Obviously this device does connect to 4G LTE bands. Namely Band 2- 1900, Band 4-1700/2100, Band 17/12-700 and Car-4. I am a T-Mobile customer so getting the 4G LTE connection was as simple as inserting my SIM card. The Quantum isn’t a dual SIM device, rather they opted to only offer one full size sim slot. That forced me to make a SIM card converter from an old SIM card plastic carry card. It works just fine, but not an ideal situation. It is one thing to say it is a 4G LTE device and even to have the icon appear in the navigation bar.

Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumDoes it actually connect to 4G LTE and deliver the speeds that the service does? Short answer, yes it does. I ran a speed test on my local T-Mobile service and was pleased to see it actually pull down just over 21mbps.

Verykool SL5000 Quantum

Another fairly substantial change in the Quantum is the use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor vs the previous MediaTek. It pulls a clock speed of 1.2 GHz and the device utilizes 1GB of RAM. Internal storage is the same at 4GB, with 2GB of usable storage for apps and things. It does support a micro SD card, but apps to SD is a no go leaving you very little wiggle room for apps. It has down sized my app list and kept me a bit more streamlined than other devices in the past. The processor handles almost all tasks fairly well, but the 1 GB of RAM isn’t quit enough to keep the experience ultra smooth. I ran into a few lags and moments where it seemed unresponsive for a second or so. While it might offer a small amount of storage, most of the pre-loaded apps on the device are easily uninstalled to make room for other more important apps.

With the processor change and 4G LTE compatibility, Verykool had to alter the screen. In the Spark you had a 5-inch 1280 x 720 display, but the Quantum carries a 5-inch display at 480 x 854. It is easily noticeable coming from the Spark unless you are coming from a similar resolution display from another manufacturer. Everything requires a trade-off in order to keep the price low and affordable.

The Quantum does come out of the box with Android 4.4 KitKat, which is the first Verykool device to do so. The previous phones ran Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. They left the stock appearance of the Android OS pretty well intact, but there are some annoying little things that can drive a person nuts that is familiar with Android and the stock OS experience. For instance, there is a persistent Google Search bar at the top of every home screen.When pressed, it brings up some serious old school Google search box. To make things more interesting, you can’t swipe up from anywhere to open Google search since the device also opted for the physical capacitive keys versus the on-screen version.  Next you have the homescreens, you get 5 with no way, that I have found, to remove any or add more. While annoying, it is all easily fixable with a home replacement app like Google Now or Nova. I opted for the Google Now launcher and it runs smooth with all the Google Voice actions.


Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 Quantum (2)As you can see in the images below, the amount of apps installed when you first turn it on re minimal. You get your basic Google apps, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, WPS Office, File Explorer, FM Radio, Device Care and their Verykool app that offers up access to wallpapers, Ringtones, manuals, promotions, recommended apps and other little goodies.

Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumThe company also has this ‘device care’ app that is pre-installed that helps you keep manage your device. It gives you details like the heath of your device, offers an app manager and quick access to updates. You can clear specific apps that running and remove apps that you don’t use.

Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumOn the camera side of things they opted to come down from the 12MP offering to 8MP. Another sacrifice for the cost to value ratio of the Qualcomm processor and 4G LTE. I was hoping for the camera change to a bit better. It doesn’t snap photos terribly fast and it has some issues focusing. Changing from the stock camera app on the device over to the Google Camera helped out some, but the images still weren’t up to speed and were easily washed out if the light wasn’t just right. The photo below was the best out of 8 shots. While it looks ok on the device, you can see putting them to use on anything other than social media and small screen sharing isn’t outstanding.

Quantum Camera

They did manage to slap a 2,000 mAh battery behind the rear panel. They estimate the talk time to be 8 hours on 3G and standby of 240 hours, also on 3G. Seems odd to put out battery life on 3G when it is a 4G device. I have been using this as my daily driver for a number of weeks. It has lasted throughout one of my days, which is 6:30 a.m. to about midnight. That was with anywhere from 2 to 3 hours of screen on time and the screen brightness set to automatic.

Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumThe audio quality from the earpiece is a bit low, even at high volume. On the other side of the coin though the external speaker is quite loud.

From and external design stand point the 5-inch device is quite large measuring in at 143.00 x 72.80 x 8.90 mm and weighing in at 140 grams. It makes it larger than the Galaxy S4, but with a smaller screen. They were keen enough in the design to move the power button and the volume rocker down from the top edges of the device. Both are easy to find and easy to press while on a call. They are plastic, but they are firmly in place and don’t wiggle around like you might expect. While it is a bit larger for the screen size, it isn’t unmanageable for one handed use, even with my little girly hands.

Verykool SL5000 QuantumVerykool SL5000 QuantumI can see Verycool was trying something different with the Quantum. They wanted to bring a better processor, 4G LTE and a 5-inch screen to market that was affordable. Keeping those things in mind along with the price tag of $229.98, they did an OK job. I consider this the first attempt, since technically it is the first device they have produced with 4G LTE, a Qualcomm processor and Android 4.4. They still have some kinks to work out and I believe they can do better and keep things in the same price range. As the device sits right now, it does its job as an inexpensive SIM unlocked 4G LTE device that would do for an average user who just needs to browse the web, make some calls and keep up with their social media and emails. While it handles your casual games like Angry Birds, it really isn’t suited for gaming. I have been using it exclusively for the last month or so and it has worked out just fine.

If you would like to learn more, please visit Verykool.net and check out the SL5000 Quantum or any of their other GSM unlocked devices.

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The post Verykool SL5000 Quantum 4G LTE GSM SIM Unlocked Android Phone [Hands-On] appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

4
Nov

How and where to buy: Note 4 and Note Edge


Galaxy-Note_4

The Galaxy Note 4 is the newest Note to be offered by Samsung. The Note series has been one of the most successful series of Android phones to be offered. This year Samsung outdid themselves in the form of offering a spec monster. With a Quad HD screen, a top in processor, 3GB of ram, and metal frame Note fans agree this is a worthy successor for a phone know to have all the latest and greatest tech. Here at AndroidGuys we want to let you the user know when and where you can get the hottest products Android has to offer.

This year Samsung offers two distinct versions of the Note 4. The first is the same Note people recognize and the second and odd brother the Note edge. Both devices offer the same specifications with the only difference being the Note edge offers and odd curved screen on the side and a more familiar polymer frame. While the Note 4 has been readily announced and rumored to have been pushed up this year the Note edge seems to be a rare oddity with availability and release dates here and there.

First up the Note 4

  • Availability: The Note is available on all the major carriers in the U.S. and is available worldwide. The key for people outside the U.S. is to purchase the correct note for your carrier. Just like years before Samsung offers multiple variants for different markets with the last release tomorrow Nov. 5th.
  • Cost: $720.00 to 849.99 off contract depending on carrier. $299.99 for a two year agreement. There are also payment plans for $0 plus tax starting at $31.29 per month for 24 months and going up from there depending on carrier and finance terms.

The note 4 is also available through Amazon, Best Buy, and Ebay.

 Note Edge

The Note Edge is an oddity with its curved screen on one side. Early rumors suggested Samsung used it to show off a bit with its technology in screens and never intended for its release. However the Note edge is a production phone and will be available after the Note 4.

  • Availability: The Note Edge release date was for a time as mysterious as the phone itself. The official releases date is November 14th. AT&T will have pre-orders starting November 7th. T-Mobile also announced availability starting Nov. 14th. Sprint and Verizon expected to offer the edge soon.
  • Cost: $860.00 on T-mobile and $945.99 on AT&T. $399.00 for a 2 year contract agreement with AT&T. AT&T will offer a $0 down and $39.42 a month as will T-mobile for $0 down and $36.25 a month for 24 months. Sprint and Verizon no word on price or plans.

The Note Edge will be available in more markets such as Europe later this year and possibly into 2015. Pricing for models outside the U.S. peg it a just under $1000.00.

The Note 4 appears to be readily available and no stock issues are apparent. AndroidGuys will update as soon as any new news is available for the Note 4 and Note Edge. We will also alert to any price change or sales for each model as soon as its available.

Amazon Note 4, AT&T Note 4, Sprint Note 4, Verizon Note 4, T-Mobile Note 4, Best Buy Note 4

Note Edge AT&T, Note Edge T-Mobile

Samsung

 


The post How and where to buy: Note 4 and Note Edge appeared first on AndroidGuys.

4
Nov

NVIDIA Shield Tablet set to receive Lollipop update before the end of November


NVIDIA_Logo_01_TA_CES_2014

Just over two weeks ago, NVIDIA announced that its Shield Tablet would be one of the first devices on the market to receive the much-anticipated Lollipop update. Earlier today, the Californian company took to its official YouTube page to share a video of the new operating system in action on the 7-inch slate, and declared it would start rolling out the over-the-air upgrade before the end of this month.

Hit the break below to view the full demo video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: NVIDIA Shield Tablet set to receive Lollipop update before the end of November

4
Nov

Pocket for Android gets Material Design update and Google Now integration


Pocket

Pocket, previously entitled Read It Later, is currently pushing out a much-anticipated compatibility update for its official Android application via the Play Store. In terms of added functionality, this upgrade brings a completely revamped user interface that conforms with Lollipop’s Material Design guidelines, adds support for Google Now and transports a handful of bug fixes and speed optimizations.

What’s really eye-catching in this update, in our opinion, is the Google Now integration. Pocket is one of the first applications on the market to support this recently-announced service. So once updated, you’ll be able to say “Search for ___ on Pocket” to retrieve an article that you had previously saved to your ‘Read Later’ list.

Here’s a sneak peak at what you can expect from the Version 5.7 update:

material_search_ pocket

The full changelog can be seen below:

  • New simple, modern, and bold visual design
  • Support for Android 5.0 (Lollipop)
  • Bug fixes and improvements

To install the update, simply open up the Play Store on your device, toggle the hamburger menu by swiping in from the left-hand side of the screen, select ‘My Apps’ and click on Pocket. Next, hit the update button, and the application will instantly start to download and install the upgrade from the Google Play servers. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code below to initiate the procedure.

qr code
Play Store Download Link

Source: Pocket

 

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4
Nov

Law Firm Investigating Potential for Class Action Suit Against Rite Aid and CVS for Blocking Apple Pay


Law firm Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe, specializing in class action lawsuits, has announced that it has launched an antitrust investigation into CVS and Rite Aid over their decision to stop accepting Apple Pay in their retail stores.

The firm says that it is looking into a potential class action lawsuit that would aim to restore Apple Pay at CVS and Rite Aid stores, and it is currently asking to speak with consumers who may have been affected by the stores’ decision to stop offering the payment method.

In light of this situation, Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe is investigating whether CVS and Rite Aid violated the antitrust laws by banding together with other MCX members in a decision to boycott other payments systems, including Apple Pay. Consumers with phones that support Apple Pay may be able to participate in a class action to restore the service at CVS and Rite Aid retail stores.

Both Rite Aid and CVS stopped accepting Apple Pay just over a week ago, disabling the NFC capabilities of their payment terminals to prevent it from being used. Rite Aid and CVS are both members of the Merchant Customer Exchange or MCX, a consortium of retailers developing their own barcode-based payment system called CurrentC.

currentchowto
MCX has confirmed that all of its retail members, including CVS and Rite Aid, are subject to exclusivity agreements that prevent them from accepting alternate forms of payment at the current time, but all MCX members are free to leave at any point in time. MCX executives have said that the exclusivity agreements are “closer to months than years” and have been put in place to offer “breathing room” for the development of CurrentC.

CurrentC is being tested in a limit number of markets at the current time, with a release planned for next year.



4
Nov

[Deal] Staples has the Nexus 7 (2012) WiFi and 4G for $129


google-nexus-7

Missed out on the Nexus 9 deal? Well we have another one for you, although not nearly as smoking hot. Staples has the Nexus 7 (2012) with 32 GB of storage and both WiFi and 4G connectivity for only $129.

Sure it’s a little old, but it’s brand new out of the box, and a great price if you need something with cellular connectivity.

Just hit the source link to get your order in. No coupon code needed.

source: Staples

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Staples has the Nexus 7 (2012) WiFi and 4G for $129

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