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22
Mar

‘What The Golf?’ is the perfect game for people who don’t care about golf


Just when you thought we couldn’t find any weirder games at GDC 2018, here comes another one. What The Golf?, created by Copenhagen-based developer Triband, is being billed as the perfect anti-golf adventure. That’s due to the fact the title defies the sport’s strict rules — like a set number of holes and, um, using round balls — in favor of silly, sometimes absurd mechanics that make it feel like anything but a game about golf. Instead of swinging balls, here what you try to drive to the hole can be a house, a rag doll or (because why not) a cute horse.

At some point, you also get to a level where the golf course turns into a soccer (er, football) pitch. So, instead of trying to get a golf ball to the hole, you have to swing a soccer ball into a net. The game, naturally, gets harder as you progress. For example, with the soccer mini-game, you’ll eventually have to face some defenders who are trying to take the ball from you and/or push your invisible self off a cliff. Most of the time, there aren’t any golf clubs involved, which makes swinging in the game even more bizarre. I played the game on a PC with an Xbox One controller: left stick to aim, right trigger to shoot and/or swing the balls, houses, horses or whatever other items you may hit.

Triband, which so far has raised about $60,000 from crowdfunding site Fig to make What The Golf?, says it wants players to know that the game was made by people who know absolutely nothing about golf. And, frankly, that’s what makes What The Golf? such a blast to play. It’s just ridiculous. Another factor that helps is that the artwork and characters are so colorful, gorgeous and random, which make it that much better since you never know what to expect as you move from level to level.

What The Golf? is slated to arrive in Q2 2018 for PC, Mac, Linux and mobile devices. And let’s hope it really does come to iOS and Android devices because the game has a great amount of potential to be a perfect (and fun) time killer.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from GDC 2018!

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22
Mar

HQ Trivia Updated With Full-Screen iPad Support


Popular mobile game show app HQ Trivia has introduced native support for the iPad this week, after first launching its iOS app last fall only for the iPhone. According to the update, version 1.2.20 brings the app to iPad along with the ability for players to change their usernames in settings.

HQ on iPad is a simple, larger version of the trivia game that supports only portrait orientation and lacks Split View integration, as pointed out by The Verge, which is likely an effort to curb cheating. Prior to this week’s update iPad users could play HQ on their tablets, but it was the iPhone version of the app with the option to choose 1X or 2X image upscaling, with black borders surrounding the areas of the screen not used by UI.

Since its launch last year, HQ has grown from around 14,000 contestants in a single show to 1.7 million people participating in a game this past Sunday that included a potential prize of $25,000. No one won that game after a winner was suspected of cheating, and now that amount is rolling over to an upcoming game this Sunday, March 25, resulting in a prize pool of $50,000.

HQ is available to download for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link], and the game goes live every day at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and at 3:00 p.m. every weekday.

Tags: HQ, HQ Trivia
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22
Mar

iBooks App Expected to Feature ‘Today’ Section on iOS 12


Apple’s revamped iBooks app on iOS 12 will likely feature a “Today” tab that promotes books, authors, and related content on a daily basis.

That’s according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara, which reports that Apple appears to be headhunting employees from publications to build out an editorial team that would curate the content to appear in the Today tab of iBooks. Apple has posted a series of iBooks editor job listings on LinkedIn in recent months.

The rumor makes sense given Apple plans to redesign the iBooks app with a similar layout as the App Store on iOS 11, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The new App Store features a Today section of its own that highlights apps, games, developers, sales, and other app-related content on a daily basis.

iBooks currently has five tabs: My Books, Featured, Top Charts, Search, and Purchased. Once the app is redesigned, it’s reasonable to assume the tabs could become something like Today, Reading, Books, Audio, and Search.

Apple renamed the iBooks app to Books in the first iOS 11.3 beta, but the name was reverted to iBooks in the fourth beta and remains that way. Perhaps we’ll see the simpler Books name return when iOS 12 is released. The software update should be previewed and enter beta testing at WWDC 2018 in early June.

Tags: iBooks, macotakara.jp
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22
Mar

Apple Pay’s New Promo Offers Up to Three Free Deliveries From Grubhub, Seamless, and Eat24


The latest Apple Pay promo has launched today, offering users the chance to get up to three free restaurant deliveries in select apps.

To take advantage of the March Madness-themed promotion, customers can enter the code “HOOPS” at checkout in Grubhub, Seamless, and Eat24 (in apps or on websites), and pay for their orders via Apple Pay to get a free delivery.

The offer is limited to three redemptions per diner and three per device during the promo period, and does not cover the cost of the meal in the order. The new promo will end on April 2, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

Apple is also encouraging customers to checkout faster using Apple Pay within food apps like Pizza Hut, Subway, and BevMo!, as well as clothing and ticketing apps including Nike, SeatGeek, and GOAT.

The last Apple Pay promo was for TouchTunes and gave anyone on Spring Break the chance to add three free song credits to their account in the jukebox-like iOS app. Prior to that, promos have launched for Fandango and Instacart multiple times, Postmates, and more.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Apple Pay promo
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22
Mar

Hublot’s luxury Wear OS smartwatch will give soccer fans World Cup updates


Luxury watchmaker Hublot is getting more serious about smartwatches. The company has unveiled a new watch aimed at soccer fans planning on keeping up with the upcoming World Cup in Russia — but perhaps more interesting is the fact that it’s the first Wear OS watch to be released since Google renamed Android Wear as Wear OS.

Hublot first conceived of the watch, which was announced at Baselworld 2018, when asked by FIFA to make a timepiece for referees to use on the pitch. It features a design similar to the company’s classic Big Bang, including a titanium body, a Kevlar insert, and a bezel that’s held in place with six H-shaped screws. Safe to say, it’s a pretty beautiful watch. The name of the device? The “Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.”

Of course, the watch isn’t just for referees. Soccer fans around the world may still get some good use from the device. Every time a goal is scored in the cup, the watch will vibrate and display the word GOAL, and during the match users will also get statistics like the score, the number of cards, and the names of those who have scored goals so far. You’ll also get match times and player substitutions. In case you’re planning on watching all the games, the watch will also send you a notification 15 minutes before each game. For the referees, the watch can even connect to the Goal Line Technology being used by FIFA to determine if the ball fully crossed the goal line.

Like Tag Heuer, Hublot’s sister brand, Hublot worked with both Intel and Google for the device — and as such it shares much of the technology you’ll find in the Tag Heuer Connected Watch. Unlike many Wear OS watches, which feature Qualcomm technology, the device boasts a dual-core Intel Atom Z34XX processor with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, with 512MB of RAM. The AMOLED display sits in at 400 x 400 pixels, with a pixel density of 287 pixels per inch. It has a 410mAh battery that’s rated to give you a day of use, plus it’s water-resistant to up to 50 meters.

You might be hard-pressed to get the watch for yourself — only 2,018 will be manufactured, and it will cost a cool $5,200. Safe to say, if all you want is a Wear OS watch, there are definitely more budget-friendly options.

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22
Mar

Have a big group chat? Messenger adds admin tools and links for groups


Facebook

Group chats are so popular in Messenger that Facebook says around 2.5 million new groups are created every day on the platform. That is why the social media platform is launching new tools directed specifically at group chats. Group messages now have options to set an administrator or share a link to allow others to join. Facebook announced the new chat options on Wednesday, March 21.

The first feature allows a group chat to set an administrator, bestowing this user with the power to approve new members or remove members. The option to approve new members is designed for chatting with new people — as an example, Facebook cites planning a surprise birthday party with a few different circles of friends.

Messenger users can choose whether or not to require administrator approval for new members. Administrators can also remove administrator privileges from other users if necessary, Facebook said. By default, the admin tools are off, but users that want the ability to approve new members can access the settings to turn on the feature.

Along with adding administrator features to keep group chats on track, Messenger will allow the group to create a shareable link for other users to join. Called custom invite links, the feature allows users to easily invite another person to join the chat. Without administrative control on new members, the link can allow new users to be added automatically while toggling the option to approve new users means even link-clickers have to get approval before joining.

Messenger Groups can contain as many as 250 people (how endless would those notifications be?), with voice and video chats allowed for up to 50 people.

The new group-focused tools join what will likely become a long list of newly added features for the messaging app. Earlier in 2018, David Marcus, the vice president for Messenger, shared a list of predictions suggesting several changes that could come to the platform this year. Last month, an update added a shortcut for making group calls while last year’s list of updates includes 4K support, recommended chatbots and more. Meanwhile, the slimmer Messenger Lite just gained video calling.

At the end of 2017, Messenger had grown to 1.3 billion users.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Social Feed: Messenger adds shortcut for group calls, Instagram expands privacy
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  • Facebook bans group planning to sabotage ‘Black Panther’ reviews
  • Kasotsuka Shojo is the world’s first cryptocurrency-themed pop group


22
Mar

These are the best ‘Made for Samsung’ apps for your Galaxy phone


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There are many reasons to own a Samsung Galaxy phone. If you’re looking at the most recent flagship like the Galaxy S9, you will get cutting-edge tech, incredible cameras, and one of the most powerful processors in the business. If you’re wanting something a little less expensive, the previous generations of flagship phones still offer amazing performance at lower prices, and you can also get great mid-range and entry-level devices.

But did you know there are bonuses outside of the phone itself? While it seems like the Google Play Store‘s weird cousin at first glance, Samsung’s Galaxy Apps app store has been quietly getting better, and it’s worth logging in every now and again to check it out. Since Samsung is one of the biggest Android manufacturers on the planet, some app developers have even made versions of their apps specifically for Galaxy phones, and sometimes offer bonus content or discounts to Galaxy owners. We’ve rounded up some of the best “Made for Samsung” apps that you absolutely must download on your Galaxy device.

Note: Any links marked as being for the “Galaxy App Store” will only work when accessed on a Samsung Galaxy device. We also included a link to the Google Play Store version in each app’s title so you can check out a version of the app on desktops and other devices.

Kindle for Samsung

You most likely know what the Amazon Kindle app is. Attached to the Amazon store, Kindle is probably the largest ereading service in the world with more than 1.5 million books available for purchase. The Kindle for Samsung app is a little bit special, having been optimized to work with Galaxy devices — and most excitingly, it gives you a free ebook every month for a full year. During our use of the app, we noticed some issues with syncing book progress between this app and the usual Kindle app, so it’s probably best to stick with just one of the two. However, a free book every month is a deal worth keeping this one installed.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

Google Play Music

Alright, we’ll admit that there isn’t a Samsung exclusive version of Play Music. However, Samsung Galaxy owners do get a special little bonus when using Google’s music service to store their offline record collection in the cloud. Play Music users can upload 50,000 of their own songs to Google Play Music, to play anywhere from Google’s servers free of charge. Galaxy owners get to double that limit, raising their personal storage space to 100,000 songs. It’s unlikely you actually have that much music unless you’re a real music junkie — at three minutes a song, that comes out to more than 200 days of continuous music — but it’s nice to have anyway.

Download now from:

Play Store

‘Hearthstone’

Hearthstone is one of the biggest and best virtual collectible card games on the planet, and with the mobile version you can play it wherever you are, whenever the need takes you. If you’re a keen Hearthstone player but have never seen the point in playing on your phone, perhaps this will sway you — anyone logging into Hearthstone with a Galaxy device will get three free card packs and a card back featuring unique artwork for your collection. If you’re a new player, those three free packs should help you to get your collection off the ground quicker.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

The Weather Channel for Samsung

What extra content can you add to a weather app? As it turns out, quite a lot. Galaxy users who download The Weather Channel for Samsung will get a smart alarm clock that can wake you early when your commute could be slowed by the weather, an exclusive Edge Panel for those with Edge devices, fun backgrounds, and a new beta feature that syncs the weather up with your calendar. All that alongside one of the best weather apps on the market that brings you breaking weather updates, 15-day forecasts, weather maps, and more.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

Workout Trainer for Samsung

If you’re working on your beach body, then you might be interested in the three months of free Pro+ service that Galaxy owners get in the Workout Trainer for Samsung app. That gives you access to 100 multi-week training programs, weekly Pro-only workouts, Pro-only forums, and advanced heart rate analysis. At the end of the three months, it’s $7 a month or $60 a year, or you can drop down to the free tier, which still gives you access to thousands of workouts. If you need that bit of extra push, you can also pay for one-on-one personal training from one of the app’s many personal trainers.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

Scribd for Samsung

If you’re a heavy reader then buying individual books can get pretty expensive after a while. Scribd hopes to change some of that for you by offering access to all of its ebooks, magazines, audiobooks, sheet music, and more for just $9 a month. There is a limit on how much you can read a month, but Scribd claims you shouldn’t often be hit with that, and it will always be obvious when you will be able to access content again. If this whole idea interests you, then download the Made for Samsung app and you get two months completely free.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

ABCMouse for Samsung

One of the best uses for modern technology is to educate future generations. Kids love mobile tech, and it is one of the best ways to keep them interested in learning while they play. ABCMouse.com offers more than 8,000 fun exercises that teach kids science, math, reading, art, music, and more. As a Galaxy user, you also get 42 percent off your annual subscription to the service.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

News Republic for Samsung

News Republic is one of the best news apps out there, but it’s also a proud member of the “Made for Samsung” crowd. Not only do you get News Republic’s personally curated news service, but Galaxy users also get access to a specially modified video gallery, S-Pen compatibility, multi-window mode, and support for the Samsung Gear S2 (S3 support coming soon). If you love to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in breaking news, then there is no better way to stay abreast on your Galaxy device.

Download now from:

Galaxy App Store

Hungry for more apps? Check out our selection of the best Android apps and the best Android games to keep yourself satiated.

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22
Mar

Draw a line on the world around you with Google’s ‘Just a Line’ ARCore app


With the release of ARCore 1.0, a slew of new apps featuring Google’s augmented reality technology have been launched to the Google Play Store. But Google isn’t sitting back and letting everyone else have all the fun — it’s launching AR apps of its own as well. Take, for example, an app it calls “Just a Line.”

As the name suggests, the app is simple, but it’s still pretty fun. All you can really do is draw white lines over the top of whatever your phone’s camera can see. It’s very similar to Google’s previous AR app, Tilt Brush, which allows users to paint in 3D space. That app was only available on VR-compatible devices, however, so it’s nowhere near as accessible as Just a Line. In fact, there’s a pretty long list of devices that support Google’s ARCore, including the Google Pixel 2, LG V30, Samsung Galaxy S9, and so on.

Google does note that the app is a bit of an experiment.

“Just a Line is an AR Experiment that lets you make simple drawings in augmented reality, then share your creation with a short video,” reads the description for the app. “Touch the screen to draw, then hit record and share what you make with #justaline. Just a Line works on any device that supports ARCore.”

It’s nice to see all these new apps that support ARCore — and quite a few of them have been launched over the past few days. At launch, over 60 apps using ARCore were released to the Google Play Store, including the likes of My Tamagotchi Forever, which allows you to to raise your Tamagotchi characters and populate Tamatown.

Google in particular has been putting a pretty heavy emphasis on augmented reality as of late. The company even announced the Google Maps API, which allows developers to turn the real world into augmented reality apps — similar to Pokémon Go. The fact that developers can build on the already-established Maps infrastructure makes for a much more detailed game. This also means that developers can focus on other aspects of the app, rather than having to focus on the mapping aspect, which Google handles.

It’s likely Google will continue to release ARCore-based apps, and it will be interesting to see what those apps look like.

Editors’ Recommendations

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22
Mar

Google Maps for iPhone now shows you restaurant wait times


It’s always disappointing when, with your tummy rumbling, you turn up at your restaurant of choice to find other people already waiting for a table.

Of course, you could book ahead, but sometimes we just want to rock up because we’re close by. Well, Google Maps for iPhone now lets you see the average wait time for restaurants around the world, thanks to the latest update (version 4.47).

The feature has been working for Google Search since last November, but this week’s update brings it to Google Maps, too, and expands it to millions of eateries.

It means a restaurant’s information card within the app now shows not only the popular times hour by hour throughout the day, but also how crowded a place is likely to be at the time you’re looking (sometimes with real-time info), and a note indicating how long you may have to hang around for before you can start scoffing yourself. It also lets you know the time of day when you’re likely to have to wait the longest, in which case you can change your plans or simply stomach it and join the line.

The latest update for Google’s Maps app also brings improvements for transit directions so you can see precisely which entrance you need to take for the most efficient route to your train. This will be useful for large stations where some entrances lead to different parts of the premises, possibly even away from the platform you need. The feature is available now for folks in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Budapest, Moscow, Kiev, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Delhi. And yes, more locations are on the way.

Google’s Maps team has been rolling out a slew of updates in recent months, packing the software with more new features.

The ongoing work follows a major overhaul in the design of the interface last November, which aimed to reflect “your world, right now,” according Liz Hunt, product manager of Google Maps. So it now highlights information that’s relevant to whatever you’re doing within Maps at any given time. That means gas stations will show up more prominently in Navigation, and train stations in Transit, and so on. Newly designed icons also help you to more easily identify useful or interesting places nearby.

To learn more about Google Maps and all that it has to offer, be sure to check out Digital Trends’ handy guide.

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  • Twitter is using A.I. to ditch those awful auto-cropped photos
  • Last-minute Christmas gift ideas for you holiday slackers out there


22
Mar

Bezel-less Vivo V9 has seen a million faces to help you take the perfect selfie


We’ve recently come to know Chinese smartphone maker Vivo through its cool technology, including the first working in-display fingerprint sensor on a phone, the stunning Apex concept device with its pop-up selfie cam, and a growing interest in photo-enhancing artificial intelligence. It’s now reminding us it makes phones we can actually buy with the announcement of the Vivo V9, a flagship phone with a quite astonishing 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, and a selfie cam with beauty-enhancing AI trained on a million faces.

Before we go much further, yes, the screen has a notch. The controversial design feature is being adopted by many players in the mobile industry, and is frustrating some due to its limited functionality. On the Vivo V9 it takes a small chunk out of the 6.3-inch screen, which has an unusual 19:9 aspect ratio, and incredibly slim 1.75mm side bezels. This is 19 percent smaller than the bezels seen on the last phone we tried out from Vivo; the Vivo V7 Plus. The phone’s body is curved to fit in your hand and comes in either pearl black or gold colors.

The notch isn’t the only V9 design feature we’re seeing on other phones. On the back is a dual-lens camera that’s vertically stacked, just like the iPhone X and a growing number of other devices. It’s made up of 16 megapixel and 5 megapixel lenses, and exploits an AI-based algorithm for accurate bokeh-style shots, where the subject is precisely targeted to reduce poor edge blur. However, it’s on the 24-megapixel selfie camera that Vivo’s AI works hardest. The algorithm has been trained using a million facial feature images, and will apply the right beauty settings for your age, gender, skin tone, and texture. It goes on to learn from your customizations, getting better the more you use it.

Additionally (and stop us if you’ve heard this before too) the AI assists in creating interesting portrait shots with different lighting effects, including studio lighting, monochrome backgrounds, natural lighting, and stereo lighting. Finally, Vivo has added in some augmented reality stickers for the selfie mode too. Vivo has always embraced the selfie, and is definitely not slowing down on the V9. The AI is also used outside the camera, and in a similar way to Huawei, where it helps speed up frequently used apps and optimizing the operating system.

The V9 has an updated face unlock feature, which can also be used to secure files and photos. We’re waiting for all of the final technical specifications, but do know a Snapdragon 626 processor with 4GB of RAM provides the power, and there is 64GB of storage space inside. Android 8.1 Oreo is installed, which we’d expect to be overlaid with Vivo’s own user interface. The price and availability aren’t known yet either; but we doubt the V9 will be sold officially outside China and Vivo’s other markets. If you’re keen, you’ll be able to pick one up from an importer.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Pop-out camera, in-screen speaker give the Vivo Apex a near bezel-less design
  • The best selfie apps for iOS and Android
  • Vivo V7 Plus Review
  • Will the next Huawei superphone have three camera lenses on the back?
  • Here’s how to use the Asus Zenfone 4’s best camera features


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