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7
Mar

Possible Huawei P8 shows up in more photos


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We’ve seen in a variety of leaks, that Huawei is looking at announcing the P8 sometime in April without the Ascend moniker. Well two new photos out of China show us a new look at the possible Ascend P7 successor.

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The two photos show the side and back of the possible successor and from what we see, the device is extremely thin. The device is said to sport a 5.2-inch 1080p display and it looks like Huawei will had a lite variant with a 720p screen. Chinese web site CNMO also states that the company is looking at a P8 Max that will boast a massive 6.8-inch screen. The resolution is unknown.

Either way, we should be at a little over a month away from the new device. We’ll update you when it becomes official.

source: CNMO
via: Phone Arena

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7
Mar

MLB will not update At Bat Windows Phone app for 2015 season


Fans of both Windows Phone and baseball will surely be disappointed by MLB’s latest news. The league will evidently not be updating their At Bat app on Windows Phone 8.1 with support for the 2015 season. The app was recently updated on iOS and Android for the new season.

7
Mar

T-Mobile hosting its next event on March 18


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The next phase for T-Mobile and its Un-carrier strategy will be revealed in less than two weeks. The carrier sent out invites for an event taking place on March 18 at 1:00PM EST, saying that “this one’s a real piece of work.” There are actual hints included with the invite, but the use of “work” could indicate something relating to business consumers. That is unlikely, though, because T-Mobile really enjoys rallying ordinary consumers.

We will just have to wait and see what John Legere & Co. have coming on March 18.

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7
Mar

Only Sony’s Xperia Z series will get Android 5.0 Lollipop


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We have disappointing news for owners of Sony devices that do not belong to the Xperia Z series. Over the last few days, the company has responded to customers on Twitter wondering if their devices would be receiving the Android 5.0 software update. Sony will not be pushing Lollipop to devices other than its flagship series for some reason.

This was the most consistent response:

Hi. We can advise that the Android 5.0 Lollipop update is going to be released for the entire Xperia Z series only, we do apologise.

As Xperia Blog notes, there are many devices that Sony will be leaving out. Devices such as the Xperia C3, E1, E3, M2, M2 Aqua, T2 Ultra, and T3 are all among the devices from Sony to not get Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Sony should really start reevaluating its position in the mobile industry.

Via: Xperia Blog

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7
Mar

Alleged Sony Xperia Z4 chassis gets compared to Xperia Z3


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At MWC 2015, there was some belief that Sony would announce its next flagship phone. The Xperia Z4 was never unveiled in Barcelona and, instead, the company introduced the Xperia Z4 Tablet. It is strange that Sony separated the phone’s announcement from the tablet, but it seems like we should learn about the Xperia Z4 soon because of alleged images of its chassis. The images show parts of Xperia Z4 compared to the preceding Xperia Z3.

Here are some notes regarding the leaked chassis:

  • Both handsets’ length and widths are pretty much the same, the Xperia Z4 is slightly thinner
  • Microphone hole moved away from the headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot on the right side
  • SIM card slot moved to the left side
  • No cover on the charging port

Source: Future Supplier
Via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Alleged Sony Xperia Z4 chassis gets compared to Xperia Z3

7
Mar

Watch out Apple as Microsoft Band is coming to 765 Best Buy stores this month


Microsoft may or may not have intended their first foray into health and fitness to be a hit, but the Microsoft Band always appears to be selling out. It now seems that Microsoft has been building up inventory of the wearable, seeing as yesterday it finally went back on sale online.

Now, Windows Central has confirmed that 765 Best Buy stores in the US will begin selling the Band sometime this month. The information comes via internal documents detailing the launch event, although a date is not yet set to our knowledge.

The Best Buy stores are positioning the device in their increasingly extensive smartwatch display area, with a live demo for customers to interact with before buying. All three SKUs (small, medium, and large) will be available to purchase.

7
Mar

Save 50% today on this dual-layer hard case for Lumia 1320


This Lumia 1320 hybrid case provides serious protection against drops and scratches while sporting a built-in kickstand that can be used for watching movies and more. The inner-most layer is made of a shock absorbing silicone that sits underneath a thick plastic exterior. Yours today for only $4.95

7
Mar

LG G4 running Android 5.1 surfaces on test site


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Following up on the success of last year’s LG G3 smartphone, LG is working on a “radically different” LG G4 for release sometime in 2015. The device may debut as soon as April and new test results suggest LG is on track with development of the device. One of the benefits the company may have when they release the LG G4 is that Android 5.1 will have been available just long enough for it to ship on the G4 out of the box.

The test results for the LG G4 that surfaced on the html5test site show LG running Android 5.1 on the G4. The specific build number is LMY29F, which matches the build number running on the Google Android One smartphone. A newer version, build number LMY47E, of Android 5.1 has also been spotted in the Chromium issue tracker database running on a Nexus 5.

The hardware for the test device is listed with model number LG-H818, which is supposedly the Asian market variant of the LG G4.

source: MyLG

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7
Mar

Report: No Lollipop for non Z-branded Xperia products. Really Sony?


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The few. The proud. The furious. In the past few weeks Sony has inspired more than a few doom-and-gloom reports, though the latest bit of news, if true, would be a much more hot-headed affair. The beleaguered Japanese giant has finally clarified its Lollipop update plans (we knew it would be coming to Z-devices in the near future) and they are sure not going to please those who don’t have cash to burn.

While it’s true that one should never say never, this tumultuous Tweet has basically confirmed Lollipop won’t be appearing on any non-Z device. To make matters worse, there are actually a couple more reports with the same message (one even from the 4th) that eliminate the potential of misspeaking. Considering that Sony has just announced one such “standard affair” offering, it’s sure to make some people very angry, as it will cast a cloud over the potential [tech-savvy crowd’s] uptake of said product. Casual consumers as well, should they be aware, probably won’t be too thrilled with the “pledge” to drop support either.

Given that Sony’s mobile division isn’t exactly doing well, the absolute last thing it should be doing is angering potential or existing consumers. Still, given the fact that money is so tight, and the products in question aren’t exactly genre defying, spec-blazing miracles, the decision to drop Android update support isn’t hard to understand.



7
Mar

How serious are you about virtual reality?


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Are you prepared to dedicate a room in your house to virtual reality? Perhaps you’re a little less crazy than me, but you’re okay with a wire running across your living room to a headset? Or maybe both of those sound crazy to you, but a headset that can plug into your phone is okay?

These are the emerging options for virtual reality: a medium finally coming into its own, that’s poised to disrupt industries and hairdos the world over.

Polygon‘s Ben Kuchera sent me this fascinating piece last week, written by Robert McGregor, which compares virtual reality to swimming pools. Stay with me. The long and short of the analogy is this: Both concepts are incredibly compelling, and both require a very serious investment for maximum impact. You can have fun with a kiddie pool (Google Cardboard), but you can have a lot more fun with a multi-level, ornate swimming pool (HTC Vive).

With VR, as it stands right now, there are distinct tiers. I’ve broken out four here, but I’d love to hear arguments for more distinct tiers. And no, I’m not including augmented reality solutions; VR and AR are, currently, distinct mediums.

TIER 1: Google Cardboard

The kiddie pool analogy with Cardboard is apt: It offers a great taste of VR, with none of the comfort, fidelity or depth that other headsets offer. It also costs next to nothing and works with nearly any phone (Android, and some apps also support iOS). The benefits of Cardboard are ease-of-use (accessibility) and price (accessibility).

It is the ultimate trade-off of low barrier to entry versus depth of experience — no one is spending more than 15 minutes in a Cardboard. Zero people. Even if you could, you wouldn’t; go figure, it’s not that comfortable pushing a piece of cardboard to your face.

Those aren’t knocks against Cardboard, but a comparative measurement. Putting someone in Cardboard remains the easiest way to give an interested person a quick VR demo. That cannot be oversold: Cardboard is very easy, and that’s a crucial component for the adoption of a new medium. It works with basically any smartphone! There aren’t any headstraps or controllers! It doesn’t cost very much money!

And hey, if you’d never experienced a pool of water, a kiddie pool is a pretty exciting first experience.

TIER 2: Gear VR

One gigantic step up from Cardboard, in both experience and cost, is Samsung’s Gear VR. The South Korean phone giant teamed with Facebook-owned Oculus VR on a phone-powered experience that offloads some functionality to the headset: a touchpad, a gyrometer and lenses (among other bits). There’s a strap, and you’ll need to do some fiddling to get it set up, but it’s mostly plug-and-play with your Galaxy Note 4 phone (and soon the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge as well).

Sure, you need to own a very expensive, brand-new phone to use Gear VR. And sure, you need to shell out another $200 to buy the headset. And yeah, after that, real games cost money in Gear VR. But the games are such a tremendous step up in depth and engagement from the experiences you get with something like Cardboard that it’s all worth it.

If we’re sticking to McGregor’s simile, Gear VR is the gym/sports club membership that grants you regular access to a swimming pool. A full, real pool! But it’s not yours and there’s limited access and other people are in it and whatever else. There’s no depth-tracking in Gear VR, and your experiences are limited by the Note 4’s processing power, but it’s a great second step in the VR continuum. And a pretty accessible one at that!

TIER 3: Morpheus

Yet another massive step up from Gear VR and similar experiences is Sony’s Project Morpheus: a highly capable VR headset with a high-res built-in screen, powered by the fairly capable PlayStation 4 game console. We’re getting into “I’m buying an out-of-ground pool” territory here.

With Morpheus, when it launches in 2016, you’ll need:

  • A PlayStation 4 game console
  • A PlayStation 4 camera
  • A Morpheus headset
  • Space to run a wire from your PlayStation 4 to the Morpheus processing box — a separate, small unit that has onboard processing and acts as a go-between from the console to the headset
  • Space to run a wire from the processing box to the headset
  • (Optional) PlayStation Move controllers

Ideally, you’ll also have some space to move around, and nothing getting in the way of any wires. This is a much more serious commitment to VR, and one that’s going to pay off tremendously in terms of experience.

Project Morpheus just got an update this week at the Game Developers Conference, where Sony revealed beefed-up specs and new software demos. The experiences you’re able to have in Morpheus are far deeper than in Gear VR: I ducked and dodged bullets in The London Heist, and my colleague Joseph banged his head into the wall dodging a murderous shark.

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Not only is it a gorgeous screen, but also the PlayStation 4 is simply capable of delivering more processor-intensive experiences. The camera tracks movement in three dimensions and Move controllers approximate hands far better than anything you can use with Gear VR. Morpheus is admittedly limited by the PlayStation 4 hardware, but that’s a pretty high limit.

TIER 4: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and bleeding-edge VR

Call up the construction crew and go all in: It’s fantasy pool time. If you’re getting Oculus VR’s Rift or HTC and Valve’s Vive, get ready to dedicate a full room in your home to VR. Or maybe you’ve got a massive open area with a spare 15 x 15-foot chunk?

Wherever that space is, get ready to outfit it with a bleeding-edge PC. It’s not required, but why bother going this far and not all the way? The trade-off here is that every single time you use it, you’re going to be transported.

What Oculus and Valve are promising is the future of the medium: presence. I spent five minutes this week walking around and painting in three dimensions, with a virtual palette in one hand and a magical paintbrush in the other. It was an unbelievable experience, like nothing I’ve ever done before. I could have the same experience on the previously discussed VR solutions, but none would compare in depth.

Valve’s tracking solution — Lighthouse — enables an incredible ability to interact with the virtual world. While wearing HTC’s Vive, I was able to carefully articulate strokes in between a flower’s petals. It felt real. It was eerie.

For me, that is “presence.” The sense that I am actually somewhere else, not just allowing my brain to be tricked into believing I’m somewhere else. So I’m all in. I’m getting the in-ground pool. How serious are you about virtual reality?

Don’t miss out on all the latest from GDC 2015! Follow along at our events page right here.

[Image credit: Mediacolors/Alamy (stock lead image)

Filed under: Gaming, Peripherals, Wearables, Software, HD, Mobile, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Google, Facebook

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