It's impossible to launch a new flagship phone these days without some fancy (and expensive) companion devices. At least that seems to be the approach that Samsung and LG are taking, and the former has a very interesting 360-degree action camera on the way. The Gear 360 captures both still photos and video in (you guessed it) 360 degrees thanks to dual lenses and a ball-like design. The Gear 360 is launched in Samsung's home market of Korea, and though it's yet to get a western release, the companion app is already available.
If you're an avid tabletop role playing game enthusiast, it's almost impossible that you haven't heard of Pathfinder. This re-organized variant of the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, published by Paizo and supplemented with a huge variety of extra modules, literature, and lore, has quickly become one of the most popular tabletop RPGs on the market. The publisher has created a few satellite properties for Pathfinder, including novels, comic books, and a licensed card game called Pathfinder Adventure.
I always felt like one of the big downers to web browsing on mobile was typing in passwords. Of course, the built-in password management for Chrome (and other mobile browsers) can sometimes take care of things for you. But I'm sure if you do a lot of signing in, you know there are some sites whose login system just doesn't work with the browser's password manager. With Chrome v51, now in beta, Google is taking some steps to help smooth things out.
W3C, the web standards group, has created an API to help homogenize the relevant aspects of signing into websites.
Late last year, Amazon started to allow hobbyists and developers to integrate the Alexa virtual personal assistant into their own products through the developer preview of Amazon Voice Service. This effort has already borne fruit with Invoxia's Triby.
Looking a bit like an FM radio from yesteryear, the Triby immediately loses points in the looks department, especially when compared to the sleek, futuristic aesthetic of the Amazon Echo. It packs a magnetized back, allowing you to attach it directly to any metal surface, such as a refrigerator or knife rack, as well an E-Ink display for showing messages and notifications.
Not only can it be controlled through voice commands, but there's also an official companion application available for Android and iOS.
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now.
Well, that Angry Birds movie is going to come out in a few weeks, so the time has come for Rovio's latest promotional vehicle to launch. Angry Birds Action! appeared in the Play Store as a geo-limited beta a few weeks ago, and now it's live for everyone. What's it like? It's a mix of pinball, classic Angry Birds, and desperation. I kid, sort of.
Minecraft isn't the first game you think about when you hear the word "immersion." No, it's the first one you think of when you hear "surprisingly popular," or "construction-based," or "Notch made more money than Solomon's divorce lawyer." But even so, it's been tied to the new virtual reality trend more than once, most notably thanks to new owner Microsoft's HoloLens platform. That said, a little platform competition isn't going to keep them from making ungodly amounts of money, so check out Minecraft for Samsung's Gear VR headsets.
It's hard to predict which games among the hundreds of thousands in the Play Store will hit the sweet spot and become a sensation. Taichi Panda, Snail Games' Diablo-style dungeon crawler, is a good example. Since its release a little over a year ago it's gained over five million downloads and an impressive audience of frequent players both free and paid. After a successful soft launch period, the developer is returning to its anthropomorphic well with a sequel called Taichi Panda: Heroes.
What do you do when your phone is running low on battery and you must make a phone call because the wife expects you to do some grocery shopping before you get home or because your tummy has started rumbling and your only path to salvation is through the gooey cheese-stuffed crusts of a pepperoni pizza?
Well, you either whip out your speed rapping skills that you innately acquired that very moment to blast through an entire conversation in a few seconds, or you wish you were using an ASUS Zenfone Max with its 5000mAh battery to never, ever, have that problem in the first place.