When I was a kid, "robot" meant something that you had to wind up (or if you were rich, something you plugged into your Nintendo Entertainment System). Startup company Play-I wants to change that with Bo and Yana, a pair of toy robots that use a tablet or smartphone as both a controller and a programming tool. The company's crowdfunding campaign started yesterday and has already hit almost 80% of its quarter-million dollar goal. Read More
Virtual reality didn't die in the 90's, it just needed the right hardware to get going again. The Oculus Rift VR headset has developers and enthusiasts excited, but it's currently tethered to the PC. According to Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe, that's a temporary situation – the team is planning to bring the Oculus Rift to Android.
The Oculus Rift – for the unaware – is a visor with a 7-inch screen with two lenses (one for each eye) that can produce a realistic 3D experience at 640×800 in each eye. Read More
It's about damn time. While Pandora has been slowly and steadily updating its Android app for years (the latest big update was a sleep timer), the tablet experience has been sorely lacking ever since Honeycomb. The music streaming service has redeemed itself with version 5.0 of the Android app, which now shifts the interface significantly on Android tablets.
The main play interface occupies the center of the screen, going back through your play history with album art and displaying contextual track information below it. Read More
Verizon got it first (for once), but now it's time for Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Sprint to get their Android 4.3 update on. The over-the-air download should be disseminating today, though we've yet to see confirmation from Sprint itself. Assuming that it is indeed going out, the update comes right on schedule, according to a leaked Samsung document.
In addition to the standard Android 4.3 features, the OTA download (L720VPUAMJA) delivers compatibility with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Samsung's Knox encryption system. Read More
Amazon subsidiary Woot.com has taken the wraps off another one of its big tablet sales. This promotion isn't like their normal "one deal a day" operations - the prices will be good until November 1st at 9AM Central, though the individual listings are still limited by stock. The good deals are on refurbished Samsung and Asus hardware, though some of the dirt-cheap tablets you might see in the discount aisle are also there. Read More
There's a treat today for our Japanese friends courtesy of Google. TV Shows have been added to the Play Store in the Land of the Rising Sun, and there looks to be a good selection. This is only the third country to get TV through Google Play after the US and United Kingdom.
Tablets are in a bit of a rut as far as form factors go. Aside from ASUS' Transformer models and imitators, they're basically all monolithic slates with very little in the way of variation. Lenovo is trying to buck that trend with its new Yoga tablet line, which borrows the name from the company's flexible and well-received convertible laptops. These tablets feature an exaggerated curve on one side of the case (sort of like a more pronounced version of the Notion Ink Adam). Read More
Fans of classic beat-em-ups, it's time to get excited. while it's true that there are more than a few entries in this genre available on the Play Store already, almost all of them owe at least some inspiration to the great Double Dragon of arcade fame. DotEmu, no slouch when it comes to breathing new life into classics, is bringing all three of the original games to the Play Store sometime in the near future. Read More
Snapseed was a surprisingly big part of today's Google+ event, and largely for a single reason: a new feature called HDR Scape. Google claims Snapseed is the first mobile app to use the pixel-edge contrast method to produce HDR photos, which certainly sounds fancy. How does it stack up in reality, though? Most smartphones today ship with an HDR mode on-board, generally creating an image by taking multiple photos at different exposure levels and then combining them into a composite image. Read More
One of the many photography-oriented announcements made during today's Google+ event was Snapseed's new HDR Scape filter, one which promised to produce awesome photos with a dynamic range that's deliciously high.
Unlike stock camera HDR modes, Vic Gundotra was sure to point out on stage today that Snapseed's HDR Scape filter doesn't approximate tonal mapping effects by measuring pixel brightness, but instead detects pixel edge contrast, which according to Gundotra should produce more realistic effects, close to what you might achieve with a set of bracketed exposures from a "real" camera. Read More