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23
May

Samsung Gear Fit 2 official looking photos leak, reveal split screen and more


The Samsung Gear Fit 2 has leaked, again, this time in seemingly official images showing off the wearable from plenty of angles.

So far the Gear Fit 2 has leaked in a render and in images through Samsung’s official site. While the device is almost certainly coming, few details are known. Design, judging by the leaks, is going to be improved over the previous model.

The latest images, from Twitter, show the new Gear Fit 2 should feature a slimmer style but will still sport a large and clear AMOLED display which curves to fit the wrist comfortably. The device will read heart rate, apparently live, and will be able to display maps with location information. There also appears to be a split screen mode where both a map and weather data are shown in one of the images.

Certain specs are already leaking out of the rumour mill. The Gear Fit 2 is expected to have a 1.84-inch AMOLED display, 4GB of internal storage, a GPU chip, and a new Bio-Processor for improved fitness and health tracking. There is also a rubberised body and no exposed ports suggesting this will be water friendly for swimming tracking too.

Samsung is expected to launch the Gear Fit 2 in June. How much it will cost, or where it will be released have yet to be announced.

READ: Samsung Gear Fit 2 / Gear IconX: What’s the story so far?

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23
May

OnePlus Loop VR headset is completely free, here’s how get yours now


OnePlus has announced its version of the Samsung Gear VR headset, the Loop VR. The big difference though is that it is giving it away for free and it’ll work with “most 5 to 6-inch handsets”, not just those made by OnePlus.

The company has 30,000 OnePlus Loop VR headsets available to send to customers. All you have to pay for is shipping.

You’ll have to be quick though, now the cat is out of the bag, it won’t be long before every unit is snapped up.

How to order a free OnePlus Loop VR headset

You need to head to the special OnePlus Loop VR page, click add to cart, checkout (after signing in or registering with OnePlus through your email, Facebook or a Google account), and you’ll be presented with the option to fill in your details and pay for shipping.

At the moment, only PayPal is accepted and there seem to be a few tricks you need to try to get the payment to go through correctly.

OnePlus Loop VR ordering issues

For a start, the main Loop VR link will only let you order one in the States. However, we found that if you go to oneplus.net/uk/oneplus-loop-vr instead, it let’s you order in the UK.

READ: OnePlus 3: What’s the story so far?

In addition, the continue button after choosing payment didn’t seem to do anything for us until we entered our billing address separately – even though it’s the same as our shipping address.

Doing both of those things worked though and we’ve had confirmation our order has been accepted.

OnePlus Loop VR shipping costs

Two shipping options are available. You can pay £2.99 for 3-7 day delivery, or £9.99 for 1-3 day delivery. The Loop VR headsets will start to ship on 6 June.

One of the reasons highlighted by OnePlus for the promotion is that it will not only be hosting the launch of the OnePlus 3 in VR as part of “The Loop” – its VR hub – it will also give you the option to pre-order the new phone from within the virtual world. Indeed, those that do will get first dibs on ordering the handset.

The company had previously given away 30,000 Google Cardboard headsets in the past, but that wasn’t quite as impressive as this massive giveaway.

23
May

Get Spotify Premium for £2.50 per month with your mates


Spotify has announced that it has extended its Family Plan to six users for the same price. That means the monthly charge of £15 can be split between six friends and family members, on one bill.

Until now Spotify only offered the plan to a few users, while Apple Music covered a full six. Spotify has clearly decided to catch up and price match the competition, to the advantage of the users.

A Spotify Family Plan will allow the six users each to have their own logins and accounts, meaning a full Spotify Premium experience each. That means you can all listen separately without any worry of overlap or interruptions plus no ads and the ability to save for offline listening. Plus, when you upgrade all your saved music and recommendations come with you.

The only difference is that the £15 bill will come from one account each month. 

So if you and your mates setup a direct debit to you while you’re paying, you each end up paying just £2.50 a month for the full Spotify experience of 30 million songs. Well worth the money and the effort of sorting out the split payment method, right?

READ: Which is the best music streaming service in the UK?

23
May

Spotify’s Family Plan now covers six people for $15 a month


While Spotify has offered Family Plans for some time now, rival music streaming services, particularly those from Apple and Google, have it beat in terms of price. Today, the company has addressed that issue, allowing up to six family members (or friends) to grab a Premium subscription for $15/£15/€15 a month. Previously, linking just five accounts would cost double the price it does today.

With Apple Music gaining in popularity, Spotify is doing all it can to maintain its lead over the competition. Earlier this month, Apple confirmed that students in seven countries can now enjoy a 50 percent discount on their membership if they can prove they’re studying at an eligible college or university. Spotify doesn’t need to play catch-up there: it implemented student discounts more than two years ago.

As Spotify, Apple and Google now offer users roughly the same music catalog — bar the odd exclusive — price is one area where they can get one over their rivals. However, the major players have not yet shown a willingness to drop prices below what other platforms have set.

If you’ve already signed up to Spotify’s Family Plan or manage the account on everyone’s behalf, you’ll be charged the new $15/£15 rate the next time the company takes your payment.

Source: Spotify

23
May

Alibaba gave online shoppers a VR celebrity date


Alibaba really, really wants you to use its virtual reality shopping experience, and it’s resorting to a clever tactic to lure you in: dream dates. The Chinese internet giant marked May 20th, a romantic pseudo-holiday, by giving Taobao mobile app users a virtual reality date with either famed actress Dilraba (if you were looking for a girlfriend) or the actor Yang Yang (if you wanted a boyfriend). If you had a mobile-friendly VR viewer and scanned in a QR code, your digital squeeze would help you wake up, make breakfast and otherwise keep you company. Think of it like Konami’s augmented reality girlfriend app… just more immersive and private.

This is a classic promo from Alibaba, which is no stranger to capitalizing on made-up occasions. Still, it shows how big VR is becoming — when one of the world’s largest online retailers goes out of its way to get people donning headsets, you know it’s important. Don’t be shocked if other big stores follow suit.

Via: Tech in Asia, CNET

Source: Taobao (QR code)

23
May

This is what Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 (probably) looks like


As much as it’s possible to know anything about a company before it’s had the press conference, we know Samsung’s got wearable ambitions. In addition to a pair of Bragi-like wireless earbuds, the firm is putting the finishing touches to an updated version of the Gear Fit smartwatch it released in 2014. If this leaked publicity shot is to be believed, then the Gear Fit 2 will look smaller and sleeker than its predecessor. It chimes with earlier rumors that claimed the device would pack a 1.84-inch AMOLED screen, integrated GPS and 4GB of built-in storage. As for a release date, it’s pegged for June, but take everything written above with the traditional pinch of salt.

[ #타이젠 카페 ] 기어핏2 사진 모음 6월 부터 판매 시작 #기어핏 #기어S2 #스마트밴드 #스마트워치 #기어핏2 pic.twitter.com/DOvDIkR5pV

— 타이젠 카페 (TIZEN CAFE) (@esse1000k) May 23, 2016

Via: The Verge, SamMobile

Source: Tizen Cafe (Twitter)

23
May

OnePlus wants you to order its new phone using a VR headset


OnePlus doesn’t think that last year’s VR launch for the OnePlus 2 was just a gimmick… in fact, it’s ramping things up. The fledgling smartphone maker has unveiled its own VR headset, the Loop VR, and it’s giving away 30,000 units for free (plus shipping) ahead of the OnePlus 3’s introduction. And it’s not just for the sake of impressing diehard fans, either. If you visit OnePlus’ VR shopping experience, you’ll get to order the OnePlus 3 before anyone else. Yes, you’ll have to immerse yourself if you want to get the first crack at the company’s next flagship.

Of course, this is all a calculated marketing strategy. If you receive a free VR headset, immerse yourself in a launch event and get early dibs on a new phone, isn’t there added pressure to buy that phone? Even if OnePlus is primarily catering to existing fans, the VR strategy could help it out by convincing those diehards to purchase a phone quickly instead of taking a wait-and-see approach.

Source: OnePlus

23
May

Cat treats and the secret to livestreaming success


As livestreaming has grown into a billion-dollar business, it’s prompted a series of important questions about the future of technology and society. For example: When people share every moment of their lives with the internet, what is privacy? Does accessible, global communication build more community or less? How many AmazeBalls would you spend to feed a treat to a stranger’s cat?

That last question may not be crucial to the future of humanity, but it does have a concrete answer: Twitch streamer Jesse “Fangs” Campana calculated that her fans would happily spend 4,500 AmazeBalls to have her feed her cat, Squirrel, live on the air. This isn’t a gimmick; it’s an essential part of Fangs’ job as a full-time streamer and YouTube personality.

If it’s not already clear, AmazeBalls aren’t actual money. Fangs uses Revlo, a service that allows streamers to hand out custom currency and rewards to their audience members. Revlo is currently available for Twitch, but it’ll roll out to YouTube and other services in the near future. For reference, Fangs has 1.05 million subscribers on YouTube and 356,000 followers on Twitch, so that’s a lot of AmazeBalls to go around.

As ridiculous as the AmazeBalls economy sounds, this type of engagement strategy is essential to success as a livestreamer. Today, streaming on Twitch is more than simply broadcasting a game to a group of fans. The livestreaming ecosystem has blossomed from a one-way transmission platform into an interactive, community-focused experience, and many of the top streamers have earned their places by showcasing their personalities and talking with viewers while they play.

This level of interaction isn’t always easy for broadcasters to achieve. As Twitch has exploded in popularity, the live chat rooms for popular streamers have become impossibly crowded. The chat box scrolls endlessly up and up, pausing every now and then on a screen of emojis and inside jokes before flipping to the next batch, and the next, and the next.

Here’s where donations come in: Fans can throw down a small amount of cash (say, $3) to send a message directly to their favorite streamer while he or she is live. The message and donation amount generally pop up over the game itself (usually with a cute animation and sound effects), and the streamer will say thanks and respond. It’s a simple way for fans to get the interaction they crave, and it helps streamers earn a living producing entertainment on Twitch.

It’s a simple solution, but it’s not egalitarian.

“We didn’t think that was very community focused,” says James Sun, co-founder and CEO of Revlo. “The whole thing that makes Twitch awesome, the whole reason we enjoy watching Twitch, is because everybody feels like they’re together. It’s very tight-knit. You develop your own jargon, your own internal jokes, your own memes, your own culture, and when you only get noticed if you pay, it just feels wrong.”

Sun and his friends came up with Revlo as a way to restore balance to the Twitch chat. Revlo removes cash from the equation and it opens up more channels of interaction for fans. In Fangs’ case, that means AmazeBalls instead of dollars (and more treats for Squirrel).

Fangs fans earn two AmazeBalls for every minute they watch her Twitch stream. They can save up and turn in those points for a series of rewards, including requesting a song (1,000 AmazeBalls), receiving a personal email from Fangs herself (6,000 AmazeBalls), playing a game against her (10,000 AmazeBalls), or having Fangs dress Squirrel in a silly outfit for at least 20 minutes of the stream (12,000 AmazeBalls).

For another popular streamer, Tim “Trick2g” Foley, Revlo means more merchandise deals. His viewers earn one GOON buck for watching 10 minutes of his stream, and the first three rewards are codes for 10, 20 and 30 percent off the merchandise in his store, which includes backpacks, mousepads and beanies. Trick2g also has sub-only rewards that are solely available to the people who subscribe to his Twitch channel at a cost of $5 per month.

Revlo makes sense for fans, but it poses some perceived issues for streamers. If viewers can interact with their favorite streamers for free, there’s a chance they won’t donate as often — or at all. Trick2g had this exact concern, so Sun ran a case study on his channel to soothe his fears.

“We wanted to prove to him that the money you lose from donations is worth it,” Sun says.

As it turns out, Revlo is definitely worthwhile for streamers. On Trick2g’s channel, new viewers who used Revlo were 2.1 times more likely to return the following week than non-Revlo users. Existing viewers who started using Revlo spent 48 percent more time watching Trick2g’s stream, which translated into more revenue from branded content and advertisements. The sub-only rewards drove more subscriptions his way and the discount codes that he offered through Revlo pushed more people to his store. Overall, the app provided a boost in audience retention, loyalty and direct sales.

Revlo went public earlier in May, but before that, 15,000 broadcasters tried it out in beta form for 5 million unique viewers per month. And there’s one notable feature buried within Revlo’s userbase — half of its streamers are male and half are female. Meanwhile, on Twitch, a majority of streamers are men.

Sun sees a huge difference in the way women and men approach streaming, and it might explain Revlo’s balanced gender split. In general, men are more antagonistic and women are more welcoming, he says, and since Revlo is a service that encourages interaction, it’s well-suited to the warmer female approach. Again, he’s speaking in general terms here.

“Female streamers are generally more interactive with their community compared to male streamers,” Sun says. “I think part of it is because they’re just friendlier, I guess. I think there are more personalities on Twitch that are male who are just more — I don’t like using this word — that are more abrasive and more aggressive than the female streamers. Female streamers are just much better, I think, at building a tight-knit community. They’re much more likable. And so their rewards are typically more interactive.”

Revlo currently ties into Twitch only, but Sun is working to bring it to YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms that streamers regularly use. The company just secured $1.12 million in funding, partially from start-up incubator YCombinator and Justin Kan — the man who founded Twitch.

Kan has moved on since his Twitch days, and he’s now a partner at YCombinator and the Group Leader in charge of Revlo. This means Sun and his team will meet with Kan every two weeks for guidance and feedback as they try to grow the app. Simply having Kan on board is already a huge validation of Revlo, Sun says.

Sun has already secured partnerships with major organizations like the Electronic Sports League and he imagines Revlo being used by streamers and companies of all sizes. He thinks mobile is the next big platform for live streaming — “Look at the number of mobile devices out there versus the number of PCs,” he says — but whatever the industry’s future holds, he wants Revlo (AmazeBalls, GOON bucks and all) to be a part of it.

“I think streaming is going to become bigger and bigger in general,” Sun says. “I think as we grow and I think as the streaming community grows, there’s going to be even more of a craving to be more immersed in the content and actually become a creator while being a consumer.”

23
May

E3 will hold a public gaming event this year


For years, E3 has largely been limited to game industry tradespeople and the press. That’s somewhat necessary (it’s difficult to wade through the show as it is), but it also locks out thousands of players dying to get a peek at the future of their favorite hobby. Thankfully, that’s about to change: the Entertainment Software Association has announced E3 Live, a free public event that gives you a taste of what you’re missing. The ticketed gathering, which runs alongside E3 itself (June 14th through 16th), promises the opportunity to “test-drive” new games, meet developers in person and try new experiences before anyone else.

Don’t expect it to be a perfect reflection of what you see behind closed doors. The initial participants include a few E3 mainstays, such as Ubisoft and Warner Bros., but there’s more of an emphasis on hardware here: HTC and Oculus will be showing off their virtual reality headsets, while Alienware will be pushing its gaming-friendly PCs. The remaining lineup includes the likes of Frito-Lay, Loot Crate, Monster and Twitch. If you were hoping to experience the grandeur of the Microsoft or Sony booths, you’ll have to keep waiting.

All the same, it’s a big step… and possibly a necessary one. Penny Arcade’s PAX gatherings draw attention partly because they represent a rare chance to show new and upcoming titles to everyday gamers — E3 Live gives the ESA a chance to join in the fun and possibly upstage its rival. It’s doubtful that this will steal all of PAX’s thunder (those events are nowhere near LA), but it’s definitely good news for anyone who lives and breathes gaming.

Source: E3 Live, ESA (PR Newswire)

23
May

Dell’s 43-inch, 4K monitor supports four clients on one screen


Dell’s latest monitor is a doozy. The Dell 43 Multi-Client Monitor (P4317Q) is a 4K, 43-inch beast that acts as if it’s four displays squished into one. When shown on a single screen, the displays are borderless, but users are able to swap any of the clients to full-screen mode, too. The entire monitor has a max resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz, a response time of 8ms, two 8-watt speakers and a USB 3.0 hub with four ports.

Dell designed the Multi-Client Monitor with the finance industry in mind, but it’s able to run four independent clients of any kind at once. Plus, it gets rid of the cable nightmare that comes with manually setting up four monitors on a single desk.

The P4317Q costs $1,350 and is available to purchase right now. It’s certainly an impressive piece of technology, but maybe that high price point is meant to offset expected lower sales of Dell’s multi-monitor stands.

Source: BusinessWire, Dell

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