VerveLife by Motorola was announced at Mobile World Congress 2016, offering a range of funky active accessories for your smartphone.
Officially unveiled on 14 June and hitting stores on 16 June, we got our hands on this new range of connected devices that want to add a little fun to your mobile life.
Firstly, let’s talk about which bit of Motorola this is to clear up any confusion. This isn’t coming from Lenovo, but from Binatone, who manufactures and sells the VerveLife family of products.
Secondly, all these devices share a common app called Hubble Connect for Verve Life. This will let you change the settings of your headphones or (in the future) remotely access your camera and other devices. It’s available for both Android and iPhone. One of the features of this app, aside from controlling your devices, is being able to find their location on a map. If you left your headphones at the gym, you’ll be able to see that, rather than rooting through the bottom of your bag, wondering what happened to them.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s on offer from VerveLife.
There’s been a buzz about this type of headphone recently, offering separate, wireless ear buds, for the ultimate in convenience. Designed to leave you free from wires, there’s two versions of the VerveOnes: those with the + indicate that they have an IP57 protection rating, so they won’t be damaged by rain or sweat. The regular Ones lack this rating, but are cheaper as a result.
The Ones come with three different sizes of tip for different fits and we found they were light enough to be comfortable and they also stayed securely in place during our initial tests. They give an indication when connected to your device and when synced with each other. Listening to a few tracks via the iPhone didn’t highlight any sync problems, but we plan to review these headphones more thoroughly as soon as we can.
But the best part of the Ones is the charge case that they come with. This is used to charge the ear buds, but also keeps them nice and secure, with them clicking into place inside the case. This can be charged by Micro-USB, and give the Ones 12 hours of playback.
The Ones offer an ambient mode, so you can hear your surroundings as well as your music, ideal for those running in busy places. There are six different sound modes and you’ll be able to make and take calls, with full support for Google and Siri voice controls.
First impressions are good, with no syncing problems and a comfortable fit.
The VerveLife VerveOnes+ will cost £229.99; the regular Ones are cheaper at £199.99.
If you’re after something a little more substantial for your sporty activities, then you might be interested in the VerveLife VerveLoop+. This is a wireless set of Bluetooth headphones, with the earbuds connected by a wire. This means there’s something to hang around your neck if you want to take an earbud out, and they’re a little more conventional than the Ones.
Again offering IP57 waterproofing, these are ideal headphones for running and come with four different tips and three different stabilisers which loop into the top of your ear for added support, to keep them nice and secure.
There’s an inline remote, also housing the Micro-USB charging port and mic, again letting you take calls and use Siri and Google voice controls on the move. You’ll get an impressive 9.5 hours of battery life from the Loop+.
The VerveLife VerveLoop+ costs £59.99.
Taking it up a step further is the VerveLife VerveRider+. These, again, come in two versions with the Rider+ offering IP57 proofing, which the regular Rider lacks.
The Rider offers a neckband style headphone, so you can wear them around your neck, with the buds connecting magnetically to the end of the neckband when not in use. There’s a choice of three tips to get a good fit; the neckband is nice and comfortable and offers a range of music controls. The Rider is light too, so you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it.
The Rider also works with Siri and Google, and offers up to 12 hours of playback.
The VerveLife VerveRider+ will cost you £79.99; the VerveLife Rider is £59.99.
Joining the family in September will be the VerveCam+. This action camera is designed as a wearable social camera, with a wide 138 degree view and video capture at up to 2.5K, 30fps.
The camera itself isn’t protected from the elements, but there’s an IP68 rated case for it, so you’ll be able to capture all the action no matter how wet you’re getting, even up to 30m deep.
Prices start from £149.99.
Another product that will be joining the family in the future is the VerveRetrieve. We don’t know much about this, but it’s designed to help you keep track of your dog with a wireless GPS tracker.
All we know at the moment is that the collar isn’t included, but if you’re always losing your dog, this might help you track pooch down.
During its E3 2016 media briefing, Microsoft announced that it will soon be offering customisable Xbox One controllers to its fan base.
Xbox One owners will be able to order a unique controller, designed by themselves and coloured in millions of combinations. They can also have their gamertag, name or another short message etched onto the controller to make it truly one-of-a-kind.
We caught up with the system and a few pre-made controllers during the Xbox Showcase event on the evening before E3’s doors open and we have to say, even the most garish models look good.
You can see some for yourself by flicking through the gallery above.
It reminds us of services offered by both Adidas and Nike. The sportswear firms have, in the past at least, offered completely customisable versions of their trainers. You could select different colours for many of the elements on the respective shoes, and they would be delivered to your home soon after.
READ: E3 2016: All the launches, games and consoles at the show
This is how the Xbox Design Lab will work too. You choose the colours you want for each of the controller’s features; from buttons to rear plate and thumbsticks. There are multiple options for each, and you select them using an online tool which shows the final style you’ve created.
Microsoft claims that there are more than eight million combinations, but you can also have text laser engraved onto the front to make it further stand out.
You can start designing your controller now, through the dedicated webpage at xboxdesignlab.xbox.com, but shipping won’t start until October. It also only seems to be in the US and Canada at present, but we’ll update when we find out more.
Self-designed controllers cost $80 (£56) apiece, with laser engraving charged at $10 extra.
For the first time in 25 years a new memory category has been created by Intel, and it’s 1,000 times faster than NAND.
Intel says its new 3D XPoint memory has already started going into production. A leaked roadmap has revealed that the company plans to release the memory later in 2016.
On top of being faster than current NAND flash memory it’s also 10 times more dense meaning enhanced storage in a smaller space.
So how can this memory be used?
Intel says the new XPoint memory tackles the lag issue of getting data from storage into the processor. Now that should be fast enough to allow the processor to work without that lag. The result could mean things like 8K gaming are just around the corner, says Intel.
On a wider view Intel says this could also help speed up medical research computation, spot fraud faster in financial transactions and accelerate genetic analysis and disease tracking.
The 3D XPoint memory is not only faster and more dense than current offerings but also has up to 1,000 times more endurance, claims Intel.
Since the memory is built in a 3D structure it can be denser while also offering faster access to sectional data storage regions. Intel says: “Memory cells are accessed and written or read by varying the amount of voltage sent to each selector. This eliminates the need for transistors, increasing capacity while reducing cost.”
Now, with online gaming centres crunching more data, the advent of 8K gaming could be sooner than we think.
READ: Best smartphones to look forward to in 2015
OnePlus has just announced its next generation flagship smartphone, and continues in its tradition of releasing powerful devices at affordable prices. While some specifications look similar to the OnePlus 2, there’s definitely enough difference here to make it worth the upgrade.
Starting on the front, and OnePlus has opted to keep much of the same design as last year. It’s an all-glass panel with a pill-shaped capacitive home button with built-in fingerprint sensor beneath the display.
As for the screen itself, it retains both the 5.5-inch size and 1080p Full HD resolution of its predecessors, but makes the welcome change to AMOLED based technology. This means colours will be far more vibrant, and blacks will be far deeper.
For the first time, OnePlus has built the rear casing from anodised aluminium, which looks very much like the kind of design we’re used to seeing from the likes of HTC, Huawei and other Chinese brands. It has the antenna bands running along the top and bottom portions and plays home to the main camera.
The rear camera boasts a 16MP Sony sensor with phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and an f/2.0 aperture for decent low light shots and background blur. As you’d expect from a top-of-the-line phone, it can also shoot video at 4K resolution, and you photographers will be happy to see it also supports RAW files for higher quality images. The front camera is decent too; at 8MP and with large pixels, it’s designed to take good selfies even with terrible lighting.
There are a couple of really notable features on the OnePlus 2. Firstly, it’s powered by Qualcomm’s latest high-power processor, the Snapdragon 820. This is paired with a huge 6GB RAM and 64GB built-in storage to ensure you never run out of space, or memory for running multiple apps at once.
Secondly, there’s OnePlus’ Dash Charge technology which can charge at ridiculously fast speeds, and is virtually identical to the VOOC flash charging found on Oppo’s latest phones. Heat is dissipated through the thick USB cable, so that the device doesn’t get hot. What’s more, OnePlus says it can deliver a full-day’s charge in 30 minutes. This super-speedy charging should negate any worries that the OnePlus 3’s 3000mAh battery isn’t big enough.
That’s not to say that 3000mAh isn’t enough, with Android Marshmallow’s battery saving technology onboard, and with the screen being the energy efficient AMOLED tech and “only” being 1080p resolution, it should easily get through the day. If it’s anything like the OnePlus X, the battery will outperform your expectations.
Other hardware features will be familiar to OnePlus users, including the notification priority slider switch, the capacitive back and recent apps buttons on the front, as well as the custom Oxygen OS software. And – pause for effect – NFC has made a welcome return, meaning you should be able to take advantage of contactless payments like Android Pay once it arrives.
OnePlus 3 will be available to buy in both soft gold and graphite finishes from today through the Loop VR Android app, and costs $399 in the US and £309 in the UK.
The kitchen is transformed by smartness, whether it’s a gadget or home appliance you can control from anywhere in the world, or a kitchen scale or steak grill that’s more accurate than previous versions.
Some smart kitchen gadgets incorporate recipe apps so you can cook more easily, while others help you work out what’s gone wrong without having to call in an engineer. There are technological solutions to air that’s too rich with smells or allergens, too.
Drop kitchen scale
Choose a dish from the range of recipes in the iPhone and iPad companion apps and the Drop wireless scales work with the app.
Therefore, if you pour the sugar in and find there’s not enough for the stipulated amount, it cleverly resizes the dish to suit.
The scales are accurate to under a gram and the recipes are all designed to be made in a single bowl, so there’s less washing up after.
PRICE: $99.95 from getdrop.com
Cinder Smart Grill
This tabletop electric grill, available in the summer, promises the perfect steak. You can control it from a smartphone or iPad app but there are dials to use it directly, too.
Its strength comes from its accuracy – it controls the temperature uniformly across the grill to within 0.3F – so it’s cooked with more natural moisture retained.
A lid stops cool air from interfering with the result. The iPad app lets you select which cut of meat you’re using and how well done you like it, though you can add time for longer heat to get it just right.
PRICE: $199 from cindercooks.com
If you use your kitchen to dine in, too, it’s important to get the ambience just right. Philips Hue is a hugely versatile system, with individual lights, lighting strips and portable lights.
You can set them to change colour or stay at the exact colour you choose from the 16 million on offer. There are also moody suggestions like Cozy Candle and Night Adventure (oh my).
It’s all controlled from a smartphone app so you can set it to come on as you arrive home, or turn on as a security feature when you’re away.
PRICE: Prices vary, from meethue.com
Thanks to capsule coffee machines like Nespresso, it’s easy to have a drink made from your favourite coffee beans in seconds. Maybe you want it sooner than that though.
The Nespresso Prodigio is a connected machine so you can tell it to get brewing downstairs while you’re dressing, or set a schedule to sync with your alarm or the time your favourite TV show ends.
Not only does the smartphone app connect wirelessly to a nearby machine, it reports on the water level and even whether the machine needs descaling.
PRICE: $249 from nespresso.com
Honeywell UV Air Purifier UV2400U
Our homes are now so efficient at staying warm or cold, they’re often shut tight, which means there’s plenty of room for aromas from spicy cooking to wet dog.
What’s more, bacteria can be snugly wafting through the air too. The Honeywell 24V air purifier uses ultraviolet to remove airborne particles like pollen and reduces odours, allowing you to breathe easy again. Please put the dog in the shower first though.
PRICE: $349.99 from yourhome.honeywell.com
No more sticky notes on the the fridge thanks to the modern equivalent: Triby. The E-ink display can show scribbles you draw on your smartphone app, and when a new message appears, a yellow flag pops out of the side of the unit.
You can receive phone calls over Wi-Fi as well as play internet radio and even Spotify Connect. It sticks to the fridge magnetically but because it’s battery-powered you can take it around the house.
Triby incorporates Amazon’s Alexa voice control for extra tasks like answering questions and adding items to shopping lists.
PRICE: $199 from invoxia.com
Nintendo’s new Zelda game is to be called: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the company confirmed using its presence at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles this year to show off a three minute long trailer of some of the gaming action gamers can expect.
With a huge beautiful open world taking centre stage, not much is know about the game aside from the fact that you’ll be able to “Travel across fields, through forests and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this stunning open-air adventure.”
While Sony has VR, and Microsoft has Xbox One S, Nintendo is clearly hoping a focus on games exclusive to its platforms will be able to woo gamers into not completely forgetting them amongst the bash and crash of games like Gears of War and Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
We can see where the Breath of the Wild namesake came from. The game’s huge vistas and inclusion of forest animals alongside a serene soundtrack is enough to destress anyone from a busy day at work.
The game is currently set for release sometime in 2017 and will launch on the Wii U as well as the company’s next generation console the Nintendo NX.
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If you want to see what happened at Microsoft’s E3 2016 briefing without sitting through all the game trailers and yada-yada, you’re in the right place! In under 15 minutes, you get a video wrap-up of all the excitement, including the launch of a smaller Xbox One S, a powerful 4K model (Project Scorpio) and Xbox Design Studio that lets you customize your controller. Game-wise, you’ll see a beta launch of Halo Wars 2, Dead Rising 4 and Forza Horizon 3, among many others. Check it out, and if you still need more, hit our Xbox E3 wrap-up here, or check out all of our E3 2016 coverage.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are eco-friendly, but they come at a steep cost: hydrogen is normally expensive to make and store. Nissan, however, thinks it has a solution. It’s developing a fuel cell system that will use bio-ethanol (generated from crops like corn and sugarcane) as a hydrogen source when it reaches vehicles in 2020. The technology combines the transformed bio-ethanol with air to power an electric motor. You’re theoretically getting a “carbon-neutral” car with much more range than a pure EV — Nissan is aiming for 497 miles on a tank where even the best Tesla Model S runs out of power at 294 miles. And since you wouldn’t need to store hydrogen, you wouldn’t need either giant tanks inside cars or special fuel stations.
Whether or not anyone embraces the idea is another matter. Nissan believes that its bio-ethanol fuel cell would cost as little as an electric car to run, but that fuel still has to come from somewhere. Bio-ethanol requires a lot of farmland, and it’s a stretch to claim that the plants would completely offset the carbon emissions involved in making this a reality.
There’s also the question of whether or not this is little more than a stopgap measure on the way to an all-electric future. Electric car ranges should improve by 2020 — there may not be much point to this fuel cell if you can get an EV that drives just as far. Nissan’s main advantage may simply be the lower cost of the car itself, since early high-mileage EVs will likely be expensive.
The FAA wants to slap Amazon with a $350,000 fine for suspected violations of the Hazardous Materials regulations. According to the agency, Amazon has been caught shipping volatile, potentially dangerous chemicals without proper care and attention. In this case, the firm handed a gallon container of a drain cleaner to UPS for a flight between Louisville and Boulder. This wasn’t any old carton of Draino, however, but a chemical called Amazing Liquid Fire, looking like the sort of homemade explosive that’d be pulled from shelves the day it went on sale.
Unfortunately, the bottle leaked, causing panic amongst the nine UPS employees who had to handle the package. They all had to be treated with a chemical wash after reporting the sort of burning sensation you only get when you’ve touched commercial-grade drain acid. Naturally, the FAA wants Amazon’s head, saying that it failed to inform UPS what it was and that the package was improperly sealed. It’s also annoyed that Amazon didn’t provide emergency instructions, which probably caused undue panic to the aforementioned UPS employees.
According to the FAA, this isn’t the first time that Amazon’s cavalier attitude towards package transport has enraged officials. It says that the firm has broken rules 24 times between February 2013 and September 2015. UPS has confirmed, however, that the affected employees were fine after receiving treatment. Amazon, meanwhile, told Reuters that while it won’t discuss specific cases, it sees defects in its packaging as an “opportunity for continuous improvement.”
Source: FAA, Reuters