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4 years ago

'Project' no more: NVIDIA Shield preorders start May 20 for $349, ships in June

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NVIDIA promises to change mobile gaming with the Shield -- a handheld console that's pure Android and pure fun

Think back to CES this past January, and chances are you'll remember NVIDIA's Project Shield. It sort of stole the whole show, and it's finally here. In case you missed all the hub-bub surrounding the device, think of a 5-inch, 720p multi-touch display, paired with a full game controller powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 4 chip. It's plenty powerful to play console-grade games, and the best part -- it runs Android so it launches with a full compliment of optimized titles to put it all to use.

It doesn't stop there, either. Using an NVIDIA graphics card in your gaming desktop (GeForce GTX 650 or higher) you'll also be streaming titles using Steam, getting a cross platform experience like no other. The Shield promises to bring your gaming to a whole new level. And of course, we expect things to work quite nicely between the Shield and NVIDIA's new Grid platform.

To get you started, there are two great titles pre-loaded -- Sonic 4 Episode II, and Expendable: Rearmed. You'll also have all the great games in Google Play available, including Tegra 4 optimized titles like Dead Trigger and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In addition, NVIDIA has five new titles all lined up to make the most of the great hardware the Shield has on-board: Broken Age and Costume Quest from Double Fine, Flyhunter: Origins from Steel Wool Games, Skiing Fred from Dedalord Games and Chuck's Challenge from Niffler. Look for these titles to come soon.

It all sounds pretty exciting, but the big questions are when, where and how much? We're going to detail the full availability, including how preorders will work, but know that general preorders start May 20, and the Shield will have a retail price of $349 when it ships this June. We're expecting this to be a whole lot of fun, and we can't wait to get units into our own hands. In the meantime, the forums are open for all the discussion you would ever want about the Shield, and the press release is after the break.

More: NVIDIA Shield forums

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4 years ago

Test flight: NVIDIA Shield and the Parrot AR Drone

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The NVIDIA Shield might be a powerhouse of an Android-based gaming system, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg, right? If you're really looking to take your brain for a spin, you've got to try Shield with the Parrot AR Drone. 

If somehow you've been able to avoid the AR Drone -- or its cousin, the Quadricopter -- picture this: A lightweight flying machine with four rotors, a few cameras and a Wifi Direct connection straight back to your smartphone. You control this miracle of modern mechanized flight using the controls on your phone or tablet. 

But anyone who's used onscreen buttons knows that a physical controller is much better. So many more options Tactile feedback. With NVIDIA Shield, you get the best of both worlds. You get a physical controller, plus a 5-inch display so you can see what the AR Drone is seeing. It's a ridiculous amount of fun. And it being my first time with the AR Drone, I was horrible at it. So, after the break, we get a little help from an old friend in taking the AR Drone with NVIDIA Shield for a spin. Check it.

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4 years ago

NVIDIA Shield accessories: Carrying case and custom lids

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NVIDIA has a couple of kick-ass accessories to keep your Shield safe and looking unique

We know where and when you can finally get your hands on an NVIDIA Shield, but once you get it you'll probably be interested in some of the official accessories for the device. At the time of launch, NVIDIA is making both a carrying case and removable custom lids for the Shield available. The carrying case will retail for $39.99 and is a hard-sided zippered affair that will keep the Shield nice and protected while you're not using it. The back is designed to let you charge it while completely closed in the case -- a nice touch.

For the device itself, you can buy replaceable custom lids that adorn the back of the screen at $19.99. There will be several different colors and patterns available, with surely more to come. The stock lid is a brushed silver color, which matches the plastic insets on other parts of the device. Stick around after the break for a few more pictures of the case and a nice animation of how the custom lids are removed and replaced on the back of the Shield.

More: NVIDIA Shield Forums

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4 years ago

Here's how you make sure to get your hands on an NVIDIA Shield

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Be one of the first to get your hands on NVIDIA's latest handheld gaming behemoth

So now that NVIDIA has let the cat out of the bag on the device formerly known as Project Shield, it's time to find out where and when you can get one. First off, the Shield launch will be limited to just the U.S. and Canada for now, and we have no indication of when it will expand unfortunately. Official pre-orders for the general public will be kicking off on Monday, May 20th from NVIDIA's Shield website at the aforementioned price of $349. Eager gamers among us can sign up for email updates from NVIDIA on the product and get the bonus of pre-ordering starting today, which is certainly worth it. Pre-order devices will ship in June, which is when general retail availability will kick off as well.

Those who opt to wait for the official retail launch of the Shield can buy directly from several different retailers. NVIDIA itself will sell the devices from its Shield website, as will Newegg at launch. For those wanting to see the hardware in person before buying, brick and mortar retailers GameStop, Micro Center and Canada Computers are all on-board for the launch day. We don't have a specific date for retail availability just yet, but you can bet we'll have a bit of a heads up before pre-orders start hitting people's doorsteps.

More: NVIDIA Shield Forums

Also see: NVIDIA Shield Pre-orders

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4 years ago

Nokia takes aim at Android rivals with aluminum-clad Lumia 925

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We're suckers for sleek metal smartphones here at AC, so when Nokia unveiled its new aluminum-shelled beast, the Lumia 925, we had to sneak over to Windows Phone Central for a closer look. Nokia's latest Windows Phone 8 handset boasts an aluminum-framed design and outstanding camera features, like a certain Android handset we could mention. On the camera side, Nokia's packed in a 8.7-megapixel PureView shooter with Optical Image Stabilization, the same sort used by its predecessor the Lumia 920. That device is one of the few cameras that can compete with the HTC One in low light, and Nokia's promised hardware and software tweaks, so expect some impressive photographic capabilities.

But it isn't all about the comparison with HTC's latest device. The Lumia 925 launch also gives Nokia a fresh product to hold up against the Galaxy S4, which will be backed up by Samsung's monstrous marketing budget. With its aluminum chassis and unique, minimalist software, Nokia will be hoping for favorable comparisons against the GS4.

Our sister site Windows Phone Central has been spending some quality time with the Lumia 925 at the launch event in London this morning. Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino writes --

For those of you who dismiss this as just another 920, we’d suggest you reconsider. The phone feels like a Lumia 720 (which we love) but it has the 920 guts inside, making it a very compelling device for those who want a thinner, lighter phone. It’s not an iteration of the 920, but “another expression” of it.

Check out Windows Phone Central for full coverage of the Lumia 925 launch.

More: Nokia Lumia 925 hands-on at WPCentral

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4 years ago

Phones4U to sell Huawei Ascend P2

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Phone seller will have exclusivity over white Ascend P2

Independent British retailer Phones4U has announced plans to stock the Huawei Ascend P2 when it's released next month. It's only the second retailer or operator to announce that it'll carry Huawei's latest handset, after Three UK revealed its plans last week.

Phones4U also says it'll exclusively offer the white version of the phone.

The Huawei Ascend P2, which packs a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, a 4.7-inch, 720p display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, is due to launch in the UK starting next month. For more on the device, check out our hands-on coverage from Mobile World Congress.

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4 years ago

TuneIn Radio now lets you buy music you hear from Google Play

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Direct links to the Play Store make music buying easier

TuneIn Radio has just released an update to its streaming radio service that lets users quickly find and purchase the music they're listening to in Google Play. The app has simply added a Google Play icon to the action bar between the share and search buttons, and tapping it brings you to a pre-populated search page in Google Play where you can purchase the track being played. Presumably the button doesn't show up when it can't find a match for the music (it doensn't show up on talk radio, for example), but in our few tests it always returned results.

The update is available for both free and paid versions of TuneIn, and is certainly one to update right away if you find yourself trying to remember and search for music to buy later. You can grab the free version from the Play Store link at the top of this post, and the $4.99 paid version right here as well.

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4 years ago

Airbnb adds new host tools, calendar management

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Approve, deny and request information on guests right from the app

In an attempt to bring its Android app up to parity with the features of the iOS version, Airbnb has added a few new features that should make the experience of setting up travel arrangements a bit easier. The main focus is on the hosting side of the service, where you're setting up a residence to have others come and stay at. The new update now lets hosts pre-approve, deny or request information about the guests without going to the web, which is a huge improvement. You can also now completely manage your calendar from the app, making it easier for guests to find availability dates for residences.

Airbnb also says it has made a "truck full of bug fixes", including a fix for push notifications. Along with the new features and a nice visual refresh, the app has really come together to feel like a more complete experience. If you're an Airbnb user this update will be a worthwhile one to get.

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4 years ago

OPPO Find 5 review

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A name you've probably never heard is making devices better than you may think

The name "OPPO" probably doesn't come to mind when thinking of which phone to buy next, but the Chinese manufacturer is working hard to try and change that. Best known for making high quality Blu-Ray players and various other consumer electronics, the company has only dabbled in phones previously. But with an aggressive strategy of building high-end devices and selling direct to customers with some impressive prices, the components are all there to make at least a little splash in the market. The Find 5 is OPPO's latest attempt at a device that on paper has all of the line items to make a great phone.

But making smart phones is a difficult business to get into, and selling high-end unlocked handsets is the toughest area to aim for. Does OPPO have what it takes to branch out from making other consumer electronics and take a meaningful foothold with consumers? It certainly has some things going for it. Read on past the break for our full OPPO Find 5 review.

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4 years ago

Google introduces Google+ content recommendations for mobile sites

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A simple and unobtrusive way to suggest more relevant content to users

Website operators with mobile versions of their site can now simply and quickly include code that suggests additional content based on information from Google+. The suggestions will rise up as a small bar from the bottom of the site, and only when the user scrolls up -- similarly to the way interface elements hide and show in some of Google's Android apps. The small bar shows a Google+ logo and a recommendation, which will be based on Google+ activity such as +1's and shares, as well as content from the current page you're viewing. Tapping the bar will expand the recommendation to the full page, with a scrolling list of cards of different page recommendations. For example when browsing Android Central, a recommendation page will show other articles +1'd by people in your circles. You can then +1 those posts directly and tap them to read in a new tab.

 

Any website with a Google+ page can easily enable Google+ recommendations with a single line of javascript on the mobile site, and additional tweaks can be made from the Google+ page dashboard. Once enabled, the recommendation bar will show for users running Android 2.3.3 and above, in both the stock Android Browser and of course Chrome.

More: Google Developers

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4 years ago

Samsung working on '5G' technology to deploy by 2020

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Adaptive array transceiver technology to offer several Gbps speeds on very high frequencies

Before most of the world has seen a consistent 4G LTE connection (or even 3G in many places), Samsung is already talking about its research into new 5G technologies. It's a lot of technical speak, but Samsung has developed what it is calling an "adaptive array transceiver technology" to deliver extremely high speed mobile data over millimeter-wave frequencies. Previously considered a poor choice for transmitting data because of their extremely high frequency when compared to what's being used today, Samsung has proven that it can send data in the millimeter-wave frequencies quite efficiently. Testing at a frequency of 28GHz (today's networks are in the 600MHz to 3GHz range), it has successfully made data transfers of 1.056 Gbps over the distance of 2 kilometers. Samsung says its 5G technology would be consistently several hundred times faster than current 4G tech.

Now these are the very early stages of just a proof of concept, as Samsung doesn't expect these technologies to be commercialized until at least 2020. That gives Samsung -- and other companies -- plenty of time to refine its processes to see what works best. If it can indeed take advantage of these previously unusable extremely high frequencies, it could be part of the solution to the "spectrum crunch" we seem to hear about all too often.

Source: Samsung

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4 years ago

Amazon Coins can now be used for Appstore purchases

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Kindle Fire owners receive $5 worth of Amazon Coins for free as an incentive

Amazon is debuting its new virtual currency, Amazon Coins, today as an alternative means for buying content from the Amazon Appstore on Android and Kindle Fire devices. The coins, which Amazon gave the details on back in February, can be used to purchase apps, games and in-app purchases -- but not subscriptions -- the same as you would with just dollars previously. Each Amazon Coin is worth 1 cent, so for example a $1 app can now also be purchased with 100 Amazon Coins if users prefer. Although developers receive the same cut for purchases made with Amazon Coins, Amazon seems to think this may be a good model to help fuel more purchases in the Appstore going forward.

The driving reason to use Amazon Coins over directly purchasing with dollars is that Amazon is offering a discount on bulk purchases of 500, 1,000, 2,500, 5,000 and 10,000. For example 500 Amazon Coins can be purchased for $4.80 rather than their purchasing power of $5. If you purchase 10,000 coins, you save 10-percent and pay just $90. Coins can of course only be used at Amazon, so it's banking on using the discount to lock people into having currency that can only be spent on certain purchases.

Kindle Fire users (provided you're in the U.S.) should see their 500 free coins deposited in their account today, but if they're not showing up a reboot of the device should fix that. If you're interested in checking out Amazon Coins as a way to save a few bucks on your Appstore purchases, see the source links below.

Source: Amazon; FAQ; Buy Amazon Coins

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4 years ago

Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 release moves up to May 23rd

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16GB version to cost $200 with a new agreement, $650 if bought outright

Great news for all of you on Verizon, the Samsung Galaxy S4 (read our review!) release date has been moved up to May 23rd from May 30th. The news comes from a Tweet from Ken Muche, who works for Big Red. Last month, we received confirmation that Samsung's new flagship device would not be released until the end of May. This upset many of us on Verizon as the rest of the carriers were getting the S4 out to customers' hands much earlier. This news should appease many as you'll be able to snatch up the phone in just 10 days.

To refresh what we know about the release, the 16GB version will cost $200 with a new contract or $650 with no contract.

So, for all of you on Verizon, who is excited and will be picking one up on May 23rd? Let us know in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Forum.

Source: Twitter

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4 years ago

Eric Schmidt on privacy, Glass and working at Google

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'I would lose my job, be fired, and be sued to death' for reading someone's Gmail

Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, recently fielded an interview with Peter Sagal of NPR to talk a little bit about Google -- and when Schmidt talks, we listen. The entire interview was kept quite casual, but the best parts of course pertained to Schmidt's views on privacy, how he feels about Google Glass and how some of the early principles of Google came to be. A few interesting quotes from the interview:

  • On how much Google knows about users: "Well, as much as you'll let us know. We keep information about your searches for 12 to 18 months, and then we forget everything."
  • On Googlers being able to read your email: "Yes, and I would lose my job, be fired, and be sued to death... Someone would find out, trust me."
  • On keeping things casual at Google: "Well, we actually had to have a rule, we had to have two rules. The first rule - these are both rules I enacted. The first is that you had to wear clothes to work. The second rule is that you have to have fun. You can be serious without wearing a suit, and we wanted to invent the future."
  • On what we'll be using Google Glass for: "Well, we don't quite know yet. We have maybe 2,000 of these. We've shipped them out to developers, and we're seeing what they develop. There's obviously issues, shall we say, of appropriateness of how people are going to use these things. There's a right time to have Google Glass on, and there's a right time to have it off, if you take my drift."
  • On '20-percent time: "Yeah, that's another one of our ideas is that engineers should spend 20 percent of their time working on whatever they find interesting. Now, before you get too excited, remember, engineers are not that interesting... A lot of the Google inventions came from engineers just screwing around with ideas. And then management would see them, and we'd say, boy, that's interesting. Let's add some more engineers."

NPR has made available a complete transcript of the interview, as well as audio, at the source link below.

Source: NPR

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4 years ago

Bringing it all together: Gmail, Drive and G+ Photos to share 15GB common storage

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New 15GB shared storage replaces old 10GB for Gmail and 5GB for photos on Google+ and 5GB for Drive

The Google goodies are already coming our way, before we even get to Google I/O. Announced today, no longer will your Gmail storage sit at 10GB for free, or 5GB on Google+ photos and Google Drive. Google has introduced a new, 15GB free allowance which covers all three products. 

This is great news in particular for anyone who uses little of their allowance on Gmail -- like myself -- but is much heavier on photos and Drive usage. As the storage is shared across all three services, you get to use as much of it as you like, wherever you like. 

In addition to changing how your storage works, Google is also changing how the Google Drive storage page helps you understand how you're using your storage allowance. Hovering over the pie chart will show you a breakdown of how much you're using across each of the three services. And, because of the changes, heavy Gmail users are no longer limited to a 25GB upgrade only. Any Google Drive storage you buy will become available there too. 

Source: Google Drive Blog

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