College football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It is so popular that even the NFL owes much of its success as it laid the foundation for the talent and rules in place today. Students and graduates can develop an almost unhealthy fanaticism for their school’s team and show it in crazy ways.
I’ve come across one of the coolest wireless accessories I have reviewed in a long time, and college football fans will love it. The NIMA Sports Bluetooth Speaker Helmet.
The NIMA Sports Bluetooth Speaker Helmet is a very unique accessory. The unit I am reviewing is a full sized helmet that looks and feels like the real thing I used when I played football. Except this one has a massive woofer built into the bottom of the helmet, with two large speakers built into the earpieces. The speakers in the ears are covered by mesh metal grilles that don’t distract from the look of the helmet.
Controls are similar to what you would find on other large wireless speakers; there are buttons on the back of the helmet for power, Bluetooth, track and volume control. Where this speaker is more advanced is with the EQ button that changes the sound based on seven different preset settings.
On the back is where you will also find a 3.5mm audio input jack, a full sized USB A outlet for charging your smartphone, and the power input.
There’s an eye guard behind the face mask which reminds me of former San Diego Charger, Ladanian Tomlinson, and gives the helmet a finished look. It’s a true wireless speaker with a large built-in battery that gives the helmet a good bit of heft at 14 pounds.
The helmet speaker is an officially licensed product of the NCAA and fans of Nebraska, USC, Alabama, Michigan State, UCLA, LSU, University of Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Arkansas and the University of Texas. More schools are in the works for future helmets, but are currently limited. I would guess that would have to do something with the high licensing fees these schools charge.
- Bluetooth 4.2 EDR
- Microphone for taking calls
- Dimensions: 15.0in x 13.6in x 11.2in
- Weight: 14lbs
- Full stereo sound with dual speakers and a large subwoofer
Sound, App and Looks
First off, the look of this helmet speaker is awesome. It’s the same logo and color of the USC Trojans’ helmet, and I can imagine that other schools look spot on too. The face mask not only looks like the real deal, but it feels like it is made from real steel that is covered in plastic. It makes for a great carrying mechanism.
The sound is where the speaker excels. With a speaker on each side of the helmet and the inclusion of the down-firing subwoofer, the sound is designed to impress those even at tailgate parties. It gets very loud and can play over crowds, or in my case, really anger my neighbors.
The sound quality is helped that by the ability to change the EQ settings to any preference your ears desire. Changing the EQ is simple to do with the seven presets through the TWS button on the back of the helmet, or you can connect through the free iOS or Android app to access the controls of the Nima helmet speaker.
With the ability to control the EQ, the user is free to adjust the sound for ultra bass using the large subwoofer, or they can dial it back for a more balanced tone. Regardless of the EQ setting, the speaker sound fantastic sitting right up against it or even up to 20 feet away.
The NIMA Sports Bluetooth Speaker Helmet is one of the coolest products I have reviewed all year. It doesn’t come cheap with a price tag of $399 for the large version, but you can get the medium for $249, and the small for $149. For the ultimate college football fans, there might not be a better accessory to add to your collection of foam fingers and jerseys. It offers eight hour battery life, is extremely loud and offers customizable sound that would impress at a tailgate party, or simply look awesome in your home. This would also make for a fantastic gift for the 2016 holiday season.
Head on over to http://www.nimausa.com to learn more.
The Daydream VR is Google’s latest foray into the world of wearable virtual reality devices. Falling somewhere between its $35 Google Cardboard and the more pricey Oculus or Vive, the Daydream’s closest competitor might be the Samsung VR.
Introduced on October 4 alongside the Pixel and Pixel XL, the Daydream VR (now available) promises a more immerse take on virtual reality. There are rather steep hardware requirements for phone makers looking to get their handsets certified for the platform. Google expects high-resolution screens, strong processors, and a host of sensors in phones if they hope to get the Daydream-ready classification. As such, it will likely be limited to flagship phones in the first year or so.
As of today, only the Pixel and Pixel XL are considered certified for the Daydream VR platform. We’ve had a Pixel XL for a few weeks now and spent the better part of the last week with a Daydream VR. Google has provided us with demo units of both devices.
While this is considered a review of the experience, it’s obviously not going to be fully fleshed out just yet. For starters, we can only review what’s currently available; there’s no way to give a reaction to a promise. There’s plenty of potential ahead for the platform, but as of today, not all of the apps and games are ready to roll. We can only speak to what we spent time with.
Taking the Daydream VR out of the box we find a neatly packed headset with little wasted space. The various components are tucked in nicely but are easy to pull out. As someone who is often quick to skip over instructions and jump right in, the Daydream VR was right up my alley. There’s nothing here that signals you need to walk slowly into getting set up.
The unit we received from Google is the Slate color, which comes across as a heather print you might find in a t-shirt. Soft to the touch, the Daydream VR is rather lightweight. The overall aesthetics are inviting.
In putting the Daydream VR on, the strap on the back lets wearers slide to adjust tightness. There’s plenty of space for your nose, perhaps a smidge more than what may be necessary. Along those lines, there’s also enough room inside to wear eyeglasses with the headset. This isn’t necessarily a blanket statement, but you should be able to get it on over top most glasses.
The bungee cord strap for holding your phone in place is strong and secure; it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break or get tired anytime soon. Moreover, there’s a strap tucked inside for where you place the remote control. It’s more forgiving and loose but, it too, feels built for the long haul.
The remote control that comes with the Daydream VR is small and pocketable and runs about the length of your thumb to the base of your palm. It’s comfortable to hold and has a design that makes sense. Even when your vision is obstructed by the headset you can tell which button does what and where it’s located.
Getting started with the Daydream VR is pretty straightforward. As this was an early look at the experience, we logged into a specific account that ultimately pushed the Daydream VR app to our phone.
Placing the phone into the Daydream VR is about as easy as it gets. Simply put on the foldout plank and line the center of the screen up with the black rubber nubs. Fold it up and secure it with the bungee strap.
Opening the Daydream app for the first time, users are given a walk through that is easy to understand. It’s here where you learn how to center orientation, get the feel for the remote, and see where things are headed.
It’s a fun virtual environment that’s relaxing and moves at your own pace. We appreciate being spoon-fed at times but we also like to jump ahead at others. This allows for both. Should you need a refresher, or wish to hand the Daydream VR off to another user, the tutorial is readily available.
One demo we were particularly fond of in the initial usage was looking around a forest at night time. The remote control operated as a flashlight; we were tasked with searching the area for wildlife. There’s something really cool and immersive about being there and having an instrument in your hand that made sense.
Immediately we pictured cooking apps, golf, and other titles that take advantage of the remote. Whereas we were so-so on the idea of the Harry Potter (Fantastic Beasts) game at the Daydream VR’s unveiling, we now cannot wait to cast spells and use the remote as a magic wand.
The main interface of the Daydream app lets wearers look around in a 360 degree space, with titles floating out in front of them. It’s here where you can launch into other apps and games or download others. The Google Play Store is a vetted selection of titles that only work with the headset. You won’t be able to install something here that doesn’t take advantage of the technology.
Wearing the Daydream VR is as comfortable as we might have hoped, even for more than just a few minutes. Nearly everything we looked at or played was immerse and felt more real than what we’ve experienced in Google Cardboard. Given that we didn’t have to use our hands to hold the unit, we felt like we were actually in the various environments – even the cartoon-like ones, too.
We noticed on multiple occasions that the Pixel XL we were using would get hot to the touch. Not just warm, but actually hot. In fact, there was one instance where the Daydream app prompted us to let it cool down. How long had we been using the Daydream VR? Roughly 20-30 minutes one time and 30-40 the other.
Whenever the phone would get this hot we simply opened it up and took the device out to cool down on its own. We also took the opportunity to charge the remote control up via its USB Type-C plug.
We know that Google expects to do some big things with Daydream VR, some of which could find users wearing it for much longer periods of time. Watching a full-length movie at this stage seems out of the question. We’re not certain whether it’s related to the content we were using, or if it’s a software update waiting in the wings, but it’s hard to imaging going 90 minutes or longer with this on.
With that said, we simply loved playing games for 10-15 minutes at a time. The same for Google Maps Street View and the occasional trip to a museum. Thanks to the high-resolution (2560 x 1400 pixels) of the Pixel XL, the pictures were sharp. We had to manually ask ourselves to look for the tiny dots that make up each pixel and even that was a challenge at times.
Hands and Eyes on Games and Apps
We played with the default apps and games that came with the Daydream VR experience. Moreover, we were provided with credits ($25) to install additional titles. Thus far we have used less than $10 of it to install two apps: StarChart VR and Mekorama VR.
StarChart VR former takes you into space where you can look at all of the planets, major stars, constellations, and more. It’s really breathtaking stuff that is also educational. We learned more in a few minutes with some of the planets than we remembered from school. Also, there’s something really cool about looking at the sky and seeing what the actual constellations are and how they are comprised.
Mekorama VR is a very friendly puzzle game that tasks players with navigating a robot to a particular destination. It’s possible to click and drag the floating environment to all sides and additional angles. If you’ve played Monument Valley, then you know what you’re in for with this one. You’ll get through the first levels in no time at all. And, while it’s somewhat flat and minimal in graphics, the Daydream experience makes for an experience that feels like you’re actually there.
Wonderglade is a fun game that takes players into a virtual world that’s full of mini-games. It reminded us of what you might get out of the Nintendo Wii and using the remote. Graphics were more rich here, though, and things felt more real, thanks to the 360 degree views. Players get to tilt, spray, putt miniature golf, and other things with easy-to-learn mechanics. Is it childish? It certainly appeals to younger ages but that doesn’t mean adults won’t be impressed.
Suffice it to say, we enjoyed the other, non-paid apps, too. Pulling up Google Maps Street View is brand new when you’re to walk down any road and look at neighborhoods. It’s a breeze to put yourself in front of a major landmark and see what it’s like.
YouTube VR was a mixed bag of results but only because it relies on the source for video. Some clips work better than others but, generally speaking, we are excited to see content unfold over time. With that said, some of the stuff that’s trending today was not quite as immerse or clear as we would have liked.
The games and content we’ve played with so far are quality and we’re optimistic that Google takes a tighter, vetted approach to apps. If it has certain expectations on hardware partners, we hope it does for developers, too. The last thing VR needs is a bunch of junk that gets out before the quality stuff and spoils the experience.
We’re concerned about the fact that the phone does get hot after only 30-40 minutes. In looking around, we found we’re not the only one who experienced this. Let’s hope that Google is able to identify the root causes and can fix it. We’d love to watch a full length film on a plane ride, especially if it feels like there’s a massive screen floating in front of us.
The Daydream VR is not all that much more expensive than a Cardboard unit. We’re not saying to skip over a Cardboard and go straight for this, but, should the right circumstances present itself, we recommend doing so. The hands-free aspect is good; the remote control functionality makes it great.
For only $80 we think the Daydream VR is a no-brainer. If you already have a Pixel or Pixel XL, you’ll definitely want to get one of these. The apps and games available at launch are fun; the future is wide open for developers to leverage the tech. And, thanks to affordable cameras capable of capturing 360 degree pictures and video, that content will grow at a rapid pace. Watching someone else’s vacation videos might not suck when viewed through a Daydream VR.
- United States: Google Store, Verizon, Best Buy; $79 (USD)
- Canada: Google Store, Bell, Rogers, Telus, Best Buy; $99 (CAD)
- United Kingdom: Google Store, EE, Carphone Warehouse; £69 (GBP)
- Germany: Google Store, Deutsche Telekom; €69 (EUR)
- Australia: Google Store, JB Hi-Fi; $119 (AUD); Coming to Telstra on Nov 22nd
You can now add a passcode to your WhatsApp account.
The latest update to WhatsApp beta lets you secure your account with a six-digit passcode. WhatsApp verifies your phone number via an SMS confirmation when you’re setting up the service on a new phone, and with two-step verification enabled, you’ll have to enter the passcode as well to gain access to your account.
You also get the option to add your email address, which can be used to disable two-step verification should you forget your passcode. If you’re looking to go ahead and enable two-step verification, you’ll have to consider the following:
If you have two-step verification enabled, your number will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp without your passcode. Thus, if you forget your own passcode, but did not provide an email to disable two-step verification, even you will not be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp within 7 days of last using WhatsApp.
After these 7 days, your number will be permitted to reverify on WhatsApp without your passcode, but you will lose all pending messages upon reverifying – they will be deleted. If your number is reverified on WhatsApp after 30 days of last using WhatsApp, and without your passcode, your account will be deleted and a new one will be created upon successfully reverifying.
WhatsApp doesn’t verify your email address, so it asks that you “provide an accurate email address.” The service will, however, periodically remind you to enter your passcode.
The feature is now live in the beta channel (2.16.346), and should make its way to the stable release soon. WhatsApp is picking up features at a steady pace, with the ability to make video calls going live on the platform in recent weeks.
Sony is getting in on the deals game early this year with the offer of $180 a PlayStation 4 Uncharted 4 bundle with the purchase of an Xperia X Performance from Bell.
The deal is fairly simple, but a bit arduous, especially if you’re in a rush to get the new console. You need to buy an Xperia X Performance from Bell and submit the IMEI for verification, which the company says could take between two and three weeks, before receiving an email with a discount code for $180 off the PS4 purchase.
Valid between now and December 31, the deal is pretty good if you’re not lusting after the more-expensive PS4 Pro — this is the standard, non-slim PS4 with Uncharted 4.
More: PS4 vs PS4 Slim vs PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
Nearly all of Google’s new products are now shipping, but none of them feel complete.
What a month, right?! In the last 30 days Google has announced and shipped a solid answer to Apple’s iPhone, competition for Amazon Echo, and a serious message that Samsung’s Gear VR isn’t the only game in town for great portable VR. As an Android nerd, a connected home nerd, and possibly the biggest VR nerd on the planet (by weight) I should be in some kind of joyous coma with commentary about kids at Christmas flying around.
But I’m not. In fact, I’m a little disappointed in all three of these products and I’m more than a little hesitant about the soon to be released Google Wifi after using these other #madebygoogle products. I’m frustrated because the only thing stopping each of these products from being the best things in their respective categories is how entirely unfinished their biggest features are.
Google’s new Pixel phones are incredible. That camera! The UI is so snappy even after I’ve actively tried to bog it down! It just feels like a great phone when you hold it, and I’m finally over missing my Note 7 now that Daydream is here. Only, it’s not quite finished, is it? Google Assistant, the big thing that is supposed to take these phones to the next level, is still very much a beta. Some of that is to be expected, Google is at their best when they have lots of real people to use as digital lab rats. Some of the things that got overlooked before shipping I have a real problem with, like not being able to tell me the name of a song when I ask. Google Assistant is supposed to be the future, but it isn’t yet as capable as Google Now? Come on now, that’s just bad form.
— Russell Holly (@russellholly) November 4, 2016
I want a Google Home in every room. The speaker is great, better than any other Google Cast speaker you could get at that price, but half of the features Google showed us at the launch event don’t exist yet. You can Chromecast YouTube with your voice, which is kinda neat, but Netflix and Google Play Movies support are nowhere to be found. Communicating with Nest and Hue works on a basic level, but none of the Google Assistant threaded conversation stuff works in that context. I can’t say “can you turn them back on” after asking Home to turn out the lights, which is supposed to be the whole point of this platform. It’s supposed to learn from me and feel like a conversation. When does that start?
Stepping up from Google Cardboard to Daydream is a revelation. A mobile VR headset with lots of streaming video choices means I can lose myself in a movie on a flight, or play a game while waiting in the car for my kids to get out of school. The headset looks nice, feels great, and the Pixel XL is superb as a VR display. But ever since Google I/O we’ve been hearing about how Daydream will support many different phones and be a high-end democratized platform. So far not even LG’s V20, the other Nougat phone, actually has Daydream support on the way. As long as you have a Pixel and are cool with only 19 apps while others trickle in, it’s awesome.
Seeing a pattern here? It’s not a good look.
Shipping is hard, but it’s time to step up
The truth is, Google’s relationship with shipping hardware has always been a little dicey. How many Nexus launches were totally shut down because the biggest internet company in the world wouldn’t figure out a shopping cart solution that could handle a couple hundred thousand people at once? Almost all of them is the answer, just in case you were wondering.
This year is a little different. Google’s strategy has changed, and getting the hardware out there has been a lot less painful. It’s great hardware, too. There’s no denying the design team has been putting out quality gear, but the software for some reason doesn’t match and that’s a real shame. Right now Google has a collection of really great ideas inside of very attractive packaging, but precious few complete thoughts. A good bit of this is just how Google software works. This is a company that thrives on millions of data points, and putting your software out there in the world lets you quickly collect those data points. That data collection lets Google iterate quickly and as long as the product isn’t totally abandoned Nexus Q style, things improve pretty quickly.
I’m excited by the new direction Google is taking, but it couldn’t be more clear the company has an execution problem.
This strategy gets highlighted this year because Google’s releasing multiple products that are very clearly being sold as competition to existing heavyweights. The first real iPhone competitor directly from Google. The Google take on Amazon Echo. Mobile VR that one-ups the Gear VR. These are all category champions that have the benefit of time and have gained quite a bit of polish along the way. Google’s offerings in each category this year could easily one day be clearly the best thing available, but people aren’t asked to buy them later. People are being asked to buy something that has the ability to get better over time, with a frankly spotty record of that actually happening.
I’m excited by the new direction Google is taking, but it couldn’t be clearer the company has an execution problem. If you’re releasing something as direct competition to something dominating a category, telling people to buy it now and watch it grow and improve isn’t going to work outside of Google’s early adopter bubble. These aren’t early products only available in the Google Store, though. They’re on the shelf at Best Buy, with big friendly boxes telling you how great they’ll be once you get to know them.
There are plenty of ways to get Android on your television. But we’ve yet to see any of the new features from anyone — including Google.
Android can work really well when attached to the biggest screen in your house. With entertainment apps from services we know and love like Netflix and HBO we can stream a seemingly endless number of movies and shows, apps from most major news outlets keep us informed, and games range from puzzles for the kids to full-fledged console quality works. Smart TV can really be smart and even if you’re not a cord-cutter there are plenty of good reasons to pick up something that puts Android on your television.
That something can get a little muddy, though, because Google hasn’t released an Android TV reference device that includes some of the awesome new features designed specifically for TV and existing options have yet to update to include them.
But don’t be discouraged. It’s clear that Google hasn’t given up on their TV offerings even if we don’t have a Nexus or Pixel something designed to connect to the telly. And on the hardware front, you have an amazing array of options that can bring Android TV proper or traditional Android into your living room.
Android can be built specifically for a television the same way it can be built for a watch. The services and processes you can’t see that power everything are the same as Android for your phone, but the user interface is designed for a large screen viewed from a distance. In programmer and designer language, this is known as a 10-foot user interface. Instead of icons, you’ll see large blocks with a preview of the content, things are sorted differently so your Fox news app is right beside your BBC news app, and settings are minimal once you’ve gone through the initial device setup process. It works, even if it needs a tweak or two.
Picture in picture mode, DVR capabilities and even support for digital tuners are just waiting for someone to use them on their hardware.
Companies are making some great options that use Android TV, too. Sony released some great new Android TV-powered smart televisions that give you 4K HDR and the best way to get content for them starting under $700. Sharp, Philips, and RCA also make Android TV-powered televisions, along with some other names you might not know (yet) or didn’t know made TVs — Bang & Olufsen, Vestel, Hisense and the list goes on.
We’ve also seen some great set-top boxes that bring Android TV to your current television. The NVIDIA Shield TV is probably the best Android TV so far as it delivers everything the platform has to offer along with console-quality titles designed for the GeForce graphics hardware inside. Razer also realized the gaming potential and released the Razer Forge for folks who wanted to take gaming seriously. And Xiamoi’s just released Mi Box gives you everything you love about Android TV — including 4K video — at an awesome price. We’re sure that other boxes are in the works, too.
The one thing missing from all of this is an Android TV from Google. The Nexus Player was discontinued and nothing was released to take its place. This seems odd when you consider that a big part of Google I/O in 2016 was dedicated to some awesome changes for Android TV. Changes that come with Android 7, which no hardware is currently running.
The changes do look pretty exciting if you’re a TV or film buff. A picture in picture mode running natively and simultaneously means you can have the baseball game in a small window while you looks for stats or see what’s on next. There is even new support for digital tuners if you’re severed that cable cord. It’s obvious that Google is putting time and money into the Android TV platform, even if we didn’t see a new Pixel Player. It just makes us — and more importantly, developers — wonder how well this all is going to work.
Maybe Android TV isn’t for you. I feel ya — watching movies or any of those new Netflix series isn’t something I’m into. Android TV does a great job of putting that content front and center, and sometimes it gets in the way if you’re not interested. Luckily, you can get “regular” Android on your TV in a jiffy.
There are literally countless set-top boxes and HDMI stick computers that run Android and are ready to plug into your television. Most are basically the same — a generic ARM processor, 2 – 4 GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. They’re also generally cheap and $100 or so will set you up with a way to plug Android into your TV set, a mouse and keyboard and a wireless remote of some sort. You then have the same Android — complete with Google Play and the mobile Chrome browser — on your TV.
Set-top boxes and HDMI sticks that run Android can be cheap and awesome — a winning combonation.
This can be pretty awesome. Some of the more high-end models offer a game streaming service that let you mirror your gaming PC’s screen to play Skyrim or Civ VI, and the traditional home screen setup works for people who don’t want recommended feature films or popular YouTube videos up front and “in the way.” And if you’re a film buff, apps like KODI are easy to install along with all the other streaming apps you’ll find for your phone. It can take a little weeding to find the ones that look best at 55-inches, but they’re there and you can have a smart TV set up the way you like it.
This is a category just waiting for a company to take the lead and bring a high-end HTPC experience powered by Android. The budget offerings are great — a $60 HDMI stick can run Android surprisingly well — but there’s no NVIDIA Shield TV type halo device that everyone recognizes as “the best.”
Where are we now and what do we do?
Well, as you can tell we’re waiting for Google to either release their own Android TV or partner with another company to bring all those features to us. We’re pretty sure this is going to happen and nobody would be surprised if an announcement was made telling us about something we could buy on Black Friday. If not then, CES should offer something after the new year. It has to happen.
As for the traditional Android on your TV, expect things to stay fluid and furious. Low-cost low-margin devices only need sufficient hardware to run the apps we like to be a great buy. Unlike a phone, we probably aren’t entering too much private information through a box connected to the TV or carrying the box itself around and losing it, so security and updates aren’t a huge concern. Remember, though, that your Google login credentials are stored there and we still want low-level network-based exploits patched so crazy hackers can’t use our TVs in some sort of bot net to bring the internet to its knees again. Chances are you’ll never see any updates for security so be extra careful and resist downloading these free pirated games and ROMs.
Newer things are always coming, but what’s available now is pretty great.
If you were to go out tomorrow and buy something like a Sony Android-powered smart TV or a Mi Box or a SkyStream One Android box, you probably wouldn’t have many regrets if or when something newer gets released. The changes planned for Android TV do look like great additions to the platform, but not getting them probably won’t be a deal-breaking experience. And many of the changes to Android itself weren’t really designed for the things you’ll be doing on a TV, so running Marshmallow or even Lollipop isn’t going to stop you from using Chrome to browse the web or KODI to stream your own content. We really want to see a Shield TV replacement running Android 7 and a cheap, Rockchip-powered set-top box running “regular” Android Nougat but wouldn’t hesitate to buy something today if we wanted or needed it. As far as what we recommend right now, you can check out my three picks for the best of each category below.
See the SkyStream One at Amazon
See the Xiaomi Mi Box at Walmart
See the Sony’s new 4K Android TVs at Amazon
Whether you’ve got Pixel or a Pixel XL, you’ve got to be loving the beauty of these new Google phones. To help keep yours in prime condition for as long as possible, you’ll want to check out these great deals on the cases from Caseology. You can get a stylish black case for just $6.99, or opt for a clear case for only $5.99.
But this offer is limited to the first 100 or so codes, so you need to act fast. You’ll also want to ensure you select the option from seller Caseology and not fulfilled by Amazon for the promotional codes to apply properly and to get free shipping.
- Vault Series Black – $6.99 with coupon code TKYJUQA2
- Parallax Series Black – $6.99 with coupon code A7P7YBNT
- Waterfall Series Clear – $5.99 with coupon code Q2W6E97L
- Vault Series Black – $6.99 with coupon code XLAZLI5G
- Parallax Series Black – $6.99 with coupon code PPLY4B26
- Waterfall Series Clear – $5.99 with coupon code QK5QIRU3
Did you snag any of these cases for your Pixel? If so, drop a note in the comments and let us know which ones you went with!
Google Pixel + Pixel XL
- Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
- Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
- Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
- Pixel + Pixel XL specs
- Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
- Join the discussion in the forums!
When Nintendo announced its upcoming Switch console a few weeks ago, the writing was clearly on the wall for its current-gen entry, the noble but niche Wii U. Exactly when they’d be shuttering the four-year-old system was unclear. The company first denied rumors that the last model would roll off the assembly lines at the end of this week. But in its quiet Nintendo way, they confirmed today that they had scheduled an end to Wii U production in Japan via text on the console’s product page.
Both remaining choices — a standalone white WiiU console and one bundled with Splatoon — post disclaimers noting the systems won’t be around much longer. According to Kotaku’s translation: “The text reads, 近日生産終了予定 (kinjitsu seisan shuuryou yotei), which means, “Production is scheduled to end soon.” After that, the announcement reads “within Japan” (日本国内 or Nihon kokunai).” Whether that means the company will still roll out WiiU consoles in other regions is also unclear.
As Eurogamer points out, ceasing “production” could mean a lot of things: The last system rolling off the assembly line, or the last one boxed up, or the last one shipped out the door. What it does mean is an official nail in the coffin for a quality game console that missed with consumers, thanks in part to Nintendo’s faulty marketing. All that’s left for the WiiU to do is run out the clock until the Switch is released in March 2017.
Source: Nintendo Store
YouTube has release a Daydream-only application for those with Google VR headsets to access virtual reality videos more simply.
YouTube VR has been designed from the ground up and only works with the Daydream View headset and a compatible phone – so far, that’s just the Pixel handsets from Google itself.
VR videos are shown on a virtual movie screen from within the app, using a new theatre mode, and incorporates voice search. Users can also sign into their YouTube accounts to store and access playlists.
The app can also be controlled using the Daydream View remote.
- What is Daydream and when is it coming? Google’s Android VR platform explored
- Google Daydream View review: A Pixel-perfect VR experience?
- YouTube HDR video: Everything you need to know about YouTube’s latest feature
Several content providers have partnered with the video streaming service, including the Natural History Museum, StyleHaul, Curiscope and Tastemade. They have each made VR content that is available immediately.
“We’re committed to giving creators the space and resources they need to learn about, experiment with, and create virtual reality video,” said YouTube in an official blog post.
“In fact, we’ve already started working with some awesome creators, recording artists, and partners who are producing VR videos across a wide variety of genres and interest areas on YouTube.”
You can download the app through the Daydream VR hub if you have the relevant phone and headset.
Nintendo is trying to get back all the Miitomo players it lost by releasing features a quasi-social network should have had from the start. The biggest addition that comes with its huge November update? Chat. Players can now send messages to each other in app by sending Mii characters as cute, little avatar messengers. They can now customize their rooms, as well, using wallpapers and flooring from the Miitomo Drop game and posters created from their own photos.
The third big feature that comes with the November upgrade is the ability to display outfits that other players can vote on. Those in the mood to connect with other players can head over to Answer Central, which is sort of a forum where they can reply to people’s questions. Finally, they can create Mii sidekicks that look like anyone they want to become the Robin to their Batman. While those make up the biggest new features, players will also get Mario and Luigi items, among other freebies. We guess we can only wait and see if all these are enough to lure players back into the game.
Source: Nintendo (1), (2)