Now through May 16, Best Buy will be running a promotion to lower the price of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab A. Simply trade in any working tablet and the electronics retailer will hand over a $50 coupon for the device and a $50 gift card.
This deal means that you can purchase the Galaxy Tab A for $100 less than normal. Pricing without any discount starts at $229 for the 8-inch model and reaches $299 for the 9.7-inch model.
Come comment on this article: [Deal] Best Buy takes $100 off of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A when trading in a working tablet
Emojis are starting to flood Instagram, and the website’s engineers are on a quest to sort out how people are using the yellow-faced emoticons. Apparently, their popularity skyrocketed after Apple released the iOS emoji keyboard and Android got native support. In just a single month after the iOS emojis came out, their usage on the website increased by 10 percent. Now, nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments have an emoji or two. Instagram’s research has also revealed that folks in Finland insert emojis most frequently, with 63 percent of all text posted from the country containing at least one graphic. The US (38 percent) takes the ninth place in that list, after France (50 percent), UK (48 percent), Germany (47 percent), Italy (45 percent), Russia (45 percent), Spain (40 percent) and Japan (39 percent).
And because emojis are serious business, the Facebook-owned company has also deciphered what some of them mean based on words people use with them. While many have rather obvious translations — a laughing face obviously means “lol” and all its other iterations, for instance — it’s amusing to see how users interpret some of the vaguer ones. In addition, Instagram has discovered that people are slowly abandoning written internet slang (“xoxo,” “rofl,” “bae,” so on and so forth) in favor of their emoji counterparts. You can read the whole study on Instagram’s Tumblr page, but note that it’s only the first part. The company promises to explain how it implemented emoji hashtags in the second one — maybe then we can get a detailed explanation of why you can’t search for one eggplant emoji, but you can search for two.
Rumors Microsoft would dump its Media Center feature have plagued the project for years — in 2007 we worried if it still had a future, after it was largely pushed aside in Windows Vista — and the company confirmed to ZDNet this week that with the launch of Windows 10, it’s actually happening. While Media Center came to Windows 8 as an add-on and unchanged from previous versions, apparently “infinitesimal” usage statistics are the reason Microsoft is finally pulling the plug. Nearly ten years ago, the launch of the Xbox 360 suggested Media Center Edition had a bright future and a place in the living room. While the console went on to sell millions, HTPCs became an ignored and restricted niche for Microsoft, a missed opportunity after its hyped 2004 launch with Bill Gates and Queen Latifah.
For years it was one of the best DVR options available, giving users far more control over how they watched TV than the rest (remember how to skip commercials?) but it hasn’t been actively developed in a long time, and was even left out of the Xbox One. Microsoft as a company has decided to go in a different direction in its attempt to integrate with TV, using the Xbox One as an HDMI-passthrough device. After a year of lagging in sales to the PS4 and little success in getting cable providers to build streaming apps, Microsoft recently announced support for TV broadcasts via antenna would come to the US. Still, without DVR features it’s unlikely to satisfy the MCE faithful, so let us know what’s running your home theater PC these days, if you still have one?
[Image credit: Jeff Christensen/WireImage/Getty]
Referencing former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s infamous “developers!” chant is practically a cliche nowadays, but it felt like the silent refrain throughout the company’s entire Build conference this week. In the run-up to Windows 10, Microsoft wants developers. It needs developers. And it will do whatever it takes to get them — even going so far as to allow devs to recompile their Android and iOS apps without much fuss. None of this seemed possible from Microsoft years ago, when simply owning the dominant desktop platform was enough. But now with mobile devices and the cloud in play, Microsoft needs to evolve. And by doing so, it’s also making Windows 10 a far more exciting upgrade than Windows 8 ever hoped to be.
Microsoft’s been talking up the idea of Windows 10 as a platform since announcing it back in September. But it wasn’t until the company revealed it was also going to be a free upgrade for existing Windows 7 and 8 users (for the first year), that it truly hit home how different Windows 10 would be. Microsoft is now prioritizing getting as many people as possible on a single Windows platform more than the revenues it would get from selling access to it.
Throughout the Build conference, one thing became clear: Microsoft is no longer just reacting to the competition. Windows 8 was notable for unifying desktops and mobile devices, but it also felt like a desperate attempt to prove that it could do touch interfaces too. Windows 10, with its hooks into Azure Cloud services, better support across a variety of devices and the promise of freaking holograms with HoloLens, finally puts Microsoft back into a leadership role. That’s a sentiment echoed by several Microsoft staffers I talked to (though they wouldn’t admit it on the record). And that could be the key to Windows 10’s success.
All of the apps
Several years after Windows 8’s launch, I can only think of a handful of truly compelling apps. Many developers didn’t want to devote time to the platform when they would be much better off building something for iOS and Android. And, aside from the vague promise of easy porting to Windows Phones, Microsoft never really gave developers a compelling case to jump ship.
Windows 10 is a completely different story. Microsoft is basically opening the floodgates to apps from pretty much every major platform. Got an iOS or Android app? You can easily recompile it and plug it into the Windows Store. Microsoft’s even making room for web apps and older Win32 desktop software. The goal is to populate the Windows Store with plenty of compelling apps — it doesn’t matter how it was originally made. Microsoft’s also making it easier to build Windows 10 apps by releasing coding tools for OS X and Linux. And the icing on the cake for developers: Once you’ve got a Windows app, you can make it “Universal” so that it runs across phones, tablets, and even the Xbox without much effort.
The truly astounding thing? Basically everything I wrote in that last paragraph would have been impossible at Microsoft a few years ago. By removing much of the friction involved in making Windows apps, Microsoft has shifted the mentality for developers from “why should I build for Windows?” to “heck, why not?”
Strong device support
Windows 10 has all of the cross-device promise that Windows 8 had, except it’s potentially far more useful. The new Continuum feature, for example, reshapes the OS’s interface depending on how you’re using it. If you’ve got a Windows 10 tablet, it’ll be much more touch-friendly. If you’ve got a traditional laptop or desktop, it’ll resemble Windows 7 with a revamped desktop Start menu. And for convertible devices like the Surface Pro 3, your experience will change depending on its orientation.
Herein lies the promise for Universal Windows Apps — developers only have to manage one codebase to bring an app to multiple devices. During one of Build’s keynotes, Microsoft reps showed off how USA Today managed to bring its desktop Windows 10 app to tablets and even the Xbox One, where it only shows you news videos. (Because nobody expects you to read articles on your Xbox.)
At Build, Microsoft also showed off how a Windows 10 phone can spit out a decent desktop interface. That won’t replace your primary computer, but if you’re working on the go, or can’t afford anything beyond a phone, it’s a feature that could fundamentally change the way we compute.
It’s no wonder Microsoft laid out an ambitious goal to bring Windows 10 to a billion devices in a few years. It has to think big. By doing so, it will finally be able to court the developers who’ve ignored Windows 8 so far.
Compelling software and features
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On their own, some of Windows 10’s features might be enough reason to upgrade. Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant is steadily improving with every new early Windows 10 build. It’ll also be the first such assistant on a desktop OS — Apple’s Siri came first, but it’s still only on iOS devices.
Then there’s Edge, Microsoft’s slick new browser which could make you forget about the dark days of Internet Explorer. It’s speedy, minimalist, and also supports Cortana. And once again Microsoft is also working hard to court developers by making it easy for them to bring over their existing browser extensions. I also got a taste of Windows 10’s Xbox One streaming feature, which performed surprisingly well, with no discernible lag or stutter. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to using when my living room TV is occupied.
Excitement about the future
We still don’t know when and how Microsoft will bring its holographic headset HoloLens to the public, but even at this early point it’s clearly something special. It’s light years beyond Google Glass, which was more of a persistent notification platform than a true augmented reality solution. And it interacts with the physical environment far better than the VR platforms we’ve seen. Most impressively, HoloLens isn’t some far off satellite project for Microsoft — it’s part of the company’s vision of a unified Windows 10 platform. On top of being powered by the new OS, it can also run any Universal Windows app. With HoloLens, Microsoft has something that could keep developers excited for the next few years.
I had the chance to sit through a HoloLens programming session, and while the experience didn’t quite match those demos Microsoft has been promoting — the field of view was small, and the fit wasn’t very good — it still has the potential to be a significant leap forward in computing. I built a hologram using the Unity game development tool and Visual Studio (with a huge helping hand from Microsoft’s reps) and spent about an hour tweaking it. When viewed through HoloLens, my creation’s textures were surprisingly clear (I was able to read the text on a crumbled up ball of paper), but it wasn’t truly lifelike.
Sure, it was just a beginner hologram, but it was enough to make me excited for what real developers will be able to do once they get their hands on HoloLens.
Maybe this is reading too much into things, but I noticed a very different feeling in the air after chatting with developers and Microsoft employees over the past few days, when compared to the Windows 8 launch years ago. Back then there was plenty of apprehensiveness around the new touch interface, and a general sense that Microsoft was just rushing to catch up to Apple and Android. Now, that anxiety has been replaced with excitement. And for Microsoft, that’s the best possible outcome from its developer conference.
One of the main features the Apple Watch has to offer is the ability to track your daily activities and workout routines. The Apple Watch has a comprehensive set of health and fitness tools to help you keep track of your movement, reach workout goals, and get more activity into your life. One of Apple’s main goals with the Apple Watch was to provide users with tools to keep them healthy, and the Activity and Workout apps on the Apple Watch are part of that effort.
If you’ve been a couch potato for too long, Apple Watch might be just what you need to motivate you to get moving and get healthy. The following video and tutorial will show you how to track your daily activities and how to monitor your workouts using the Activity and Workout apps.
Tracking Daily Activities
Thanks to the motion sensors built into Apple Watch, it’s always keeping track of your movement when it’s on your wrist. Whether you are sitting around doing nothing, or participating in a decathlon, Apple Watch knows your movements and will keep you informed.
- Open the Activity app on Apple Watch.
- Swipe left to the “Move, Exercise, and Stand” screen and tap Get Started.
- Enter your personal information (gender, age, weight, and height).
- Turn the Digital Crown to set the information and tap to Continue.
- Tap Start Moving.
- Or, use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to enter the information, under the “Health” section of the app.
Once the information is entered, Apple Watch will do the monitoring for you. When you take a brisk walk, run, or take a spin class, your movement heart rate data will be tracked on your Activity Rings.
The Move Ring
The Move ring tracks calories you’ve burned by moving. Depending on how regularly you get around, Apple Watch will adjust your goals. So, if you are fairly sedentary, a short walk up and down a few flights of stairs will help you on your way to filling in your ring. However, if you regularly walk 12,000 steps in a day, your Move ring will be harder to fill. During the setup process, you choose your typical level of activity to get a ballpark movement goal, adjust it manually if you wish, and then let the Apple Watch tweak things over time.
The Exercise Ring
The Exercise ring tracks how many minutes of brisk activity you have completed in a day. Brisk exercise means movement that gets your heart rate up. So, a leisurely stroll to your boss’ office across the building does not count. However, if you were to skip to his or her office, you might make some progress on your Exercise ring.
The Stand Ring
The Stand ring is there to remind you that you need to move your body. Once per hour, Apple Watch will remind you to take a walk for a minute. Even if you are at a standing desk, you will be reminded. The idea is to get away from your desk for a minute, whether you are standing or sitting, and the Apple Watch wants to see you up and around in at least 12 hours of your day.
How to View Your Progress
- Swipe up on the Watch face, then swipe to the Activity Glances.
- Tap the Glance to open the Activity App.
- Swipe to see individual activities.
- Swipe up on an activity or turn the Digital Crown to see the activity as a graph.
- Or, you can view the information on the Activity app on your iPhone. Some watch faces include Activity as a complication option, letting you see your miniature activity rings at any time and access the Activity app with a tap right from there.
How to View Activity Achievements
You will earn achievements for completing fitness goals, like working out every day of the week, doubling your daily move goal, and completing all of your activity goals for the entire week. You can keep track of which achievements you’ve earned in the Apple Watch app.
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap the Achievement tab.
- Tap an achievement to see your progress.
How to Manually Adjust Your Goals
Apple Watch will update your goals every Monday based on your previous week’s activities. However, you can manually change them whenever you like.
- Open the Activity app on Apple Watch
- Firmly press on the display screen until you see a prompt to change your move goal.
- Adjust your goal according to your realistic ability.
Apple Watch will send you friendly reminders about your daily activities. If you’d rather not get notifications, you can turn some or all of them off.
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap My Watch.
- Tap Activity.
- Toggle the switches for each reminder on or off according to your desire.
In addition to keeping track of your daily activities, Apple Watch will help you monitor your workouts. You can set specific goals based on length of time, calories burned, or distance. Once activated, Apple Watch will track your heart rate and movement and help you get through your workout.
Starting a Workout
- Open the Workout app, then tap the type of workout you will be doing, including running, cycling, rowing, and more. As you select workouts, Apple Watch will track your preferences and put the most used ones on top.
- Swipe left or right to choose a calorie, time, or distance goal.
- Turn the Digital Crown to set the number.
- When you are ready to start your workout, tap Start.
Pausing your Workout
You can pause a workout at any time by firmly pressing the display screen. Do this if you stop for any reason during your workout when you don’t want things like your heart rate tracked. Tap Resume to continue.
Ending your Workout
To stop a workout early, or if you’ve gone past your goal and still wanted to do more, but now it is time to stop, firmly press on the display screen. Then, tap End. Turn the Digital Crown to view your result summary. Tap Save to keep the information or Discard to delete it.
Apple Watch’s Activity and Workout apps are great for getting you motivated and keeping you on track. The Activity app on Apple Watch will show you your progress and allow you to fine-tune your daily activities in order to ensure that you keep moving and stay healthy.
ASUS has released an update to their ZenWatch Manager app for ZenWatch devices and they have released a new ZenWatch Music app. The combination of a new app and updates to the Manager app should help make the device even more useful for owners.
The main improvements to the ZenWatch Manager app focus on watch faces. Several new watch faces are included in the update, some that were designed by ASUS and some submitted as part of a competition ASUS held. The app also makes it a little easier to choose the face you want to use by expanding the “dim screen after…” setting to work with any watch face instead of being limited to the ASUS made watch faces. As usual for any update, ASUS also includes some bug fixes, although they have not provided detailed information on what was addressed.
ASUS has also released a new app to the Google Play store, ZenWatch Music, that gives owners of the smartwatch the ability to load up music on the device and then stream it via Bluetooth to their headphones. To do this, users will have to install an app on their smartphone or tablet where they build and edit their playlists, which are then sync’ed to the ZenWatch. Once loaded, users can control playback and adjust volume using the smartphone. The 1 GB ZenWatch should be able to hold at least 100 songs. Since the ZenWatch will connect directly with headphones via Bluetooth, users can leave their smartphones behind and continue to enjoy their music.
Although the companion app should work on most Android devices, ZenWatch Music will only work on ASUS smartwatches.
Come comment on this article: ASUS improves ZenWatch with app updates and additions
Our ability to drive innovation through creative visualization has helped us explore the reaches of space, put powerful computers into our pockets and design some bad-ass car concepts. There’s always been a seed of futurism in automobiles: Manufacturers and hobbyists alike have been crafting unique vehicles for decades, sometimes to test out fresh, new tech and other times to indulge in space-age fantasies. Below, we explore some of the more notable concept cars that have been created over the years, from the utilitarian to the fantastic.
Filed under: Transportation
If you own an HTC One Mini 2, we regrettably have some bad news for you. Earlier today, the Taiwanese company announced that it will not be rolling out the much-anticipated and eagerly-awaited Android 5.0 Lollipop update to the handset as its convinced the “software will not provide an optimal experience”.
Don’t worry, though. If you’re relatively tech-savvy and want to get your hands on the firmware, you could always download and sideload a custom ROM. There’s plenty to choose from, and, more often than not, they include additional features that don’t ship as standard on Android.
Come comment on this article: The HTC One Mini 2 won’t receive a Lollipop update
Google’s in the process of pushing out an update for its official YouTube Kids application via the Play Store. This upgrade doesn’t transport much in the way of new features, but it does bring an appearance transformation that enables its users to engage in an immersive fullscreen view, voice search improvement and the usual multitude of bug fixes.
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 ‘YouTube Kids’. 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.
Come comment on this article: YouTube Kids update brings immersive fullscreen mode
The 40th anniversary season of NBC’s Saturday Night Live may be drawing to a close with only 3 episodes left, but that has not stopped the network from finally making their companion app, SNL: Saturday Night Live, available for Android. The app makes a variety of clips from the show available for viewing so users can watch their favorite moments all over again.
NBC has built in a recommendation engine that examines the sketches you choose to watch and uses that to make even better recommendations. Once a clip is loaded up, users will find they can easily swipe from one clip to another. The embedded video player also has features available so users can mark their favorite sketches or share them via Facebook.
Along with all of the sketch content, NBC includes a special SNL emoji keyboard so users can include their favorite characters in messages. Users can also use the app to quickly launch full episodes of SNL on the NBC web site.
The app is free and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Come comment on this article: NBC finally adds more cowbell to SNL app, brings it to Android