Google makes watches “smart” with Android Wear

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 29th, 2014

Google is making a big play when it comes to wearables. First, of course, there’s Google Glass, those high-tech spectacles still be tested in the field before being unleashed to the mass market. And while we wait for that, Google wants to get consumers hyped with another wearable powered by Android: the watch.

Smartwatches have been a thing for years; Samsung, in fact, has been working on their own “Galaxy Gear” watches recently and does anyone remember Motorola’s MOTOACTV? Anyway, those smartwatches failed to make it big and Google hopes to make a splash in the wearables market with their latest software initiative Android Wear.

Simply put, Google is developing a new version of Android suited for watches that various manufacturers–from big industry players like Motorola and Samsung to fashion brands like Fossil–can use to power their hardware. Like Android on Google Glass, Android Wear aims to make wearables like watches “understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.” In other words, a smartwatch powered by Android Wear will provide you with contextual updates depending on your location and daily schedule. For example, when you arrive at the airport your smartwatch will automatically recognize where you are and pull up relevant information such as flight details and even your boarding pass. Now of course, you’re smartphone can likely do the same thing (think Google Now or Apple’s PassBook app), but having this kind of quick, glance-and-go information on your wrist instead of inside your pocket makes things more convenient and efficient.

In addition to providing contextual information, Android timepieces can give you straight answers to spoken questions. Speak aloud “Ok Google” and pose a question to receive an answer on the fly. Want the score to the Knicks game? Ask your watch and it’ll bring to the surface the information you’re looking for. You can also use this spoken service to request things like taxis, make restaurant reservations, and even send a text. Android Wear also promises to serve as a helpful way to monitor your health and fitness, as well as stream content such as music and movies to your phone and TV.

Google hopes that developers will jump on the Android Wear bandwagon and start tailoring their apps for the wearable OS; a Developer Preview is available today. To date, Google is working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm, and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to create new and intuitive smartwatches. They’re not giving a very specific timeframe as to when consumers can expect to their hands on Android Wear watches, but they tease they’re coming “later this year.” In fact, Motorola and LG are already starting to show off what they’ve got up their sleeves with Moto 360 and G Watch, respectively.

Jump after the break to watch a couple clips showing off these new watches. And brace yourselves–Google says this is just the beginning for Android Wear: “we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology.” Glasses, watches, what’s next? Apple, ahem, your move.

[Via Google] (Click here for more…)

Sony reveals Project Morpheus, virtual reality for PS4 gamers

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 29th, 2014

From Virtual Boy to true Virtual Reality–[expletive] is about to get real.

This month at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony revealed the latest piece of hardware they’re working on. No, it’s not the PS5 but rather”Project Morpheus.” That’s the code name for their attempt at virtual reality hardware. It’s something that’s straight out of the future–a sophisticated-looking head-mounted unit gets strapped to your noggin and you peer into two LCD 1080p displays (that merge into one) with a 90 degree field of view. Simply put, Morpheus is going to fully immerse you in games like never before. Or in Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida words Morpheus promises “to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play.”

Morpheus, at its core, aims to “create experiences that deliver a sense of presence – where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game.” Furthermore, “presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play.” I think you get the picture.

Morpheus is PlayStation branded hardware that is still very much in the prototype stage. A handful of details, however, managed to trickle out from GDC as a number of units were in fact playable at the conference. The VR headset works in tandem with PS4; accelerometer and gyroscope sensors inside collaborate with the PlayStation Camera to deliver VR experiences. Also, the PlayStation Move controller as well as the PS4’s standard DualShock controller assist in said experiences. For example, future gamers will strap Morpheus on and be transported to a castle with a fire-breathing dragon. Tilt and move around your head as if you are actually there to view your landscape. Whip out your PS Move controller and suddenly you wield a sword to take down the otherworldly beast.

In addition to visuals, Sony is also making Morpheus an all-encompassing virtual reality experience by incorporating 3D audio technology. Gamers will be able to hear sounds coming from all around them in real-time depending on their head orientation. For example, sounds will barrage you from above you (think helicopters flying overhead) and even below you (the pitter-patter of footsteps rushing up a flight of stairs). A stereo headset jack on the unit allows you to plug in any kind of headphones you like to fully step into a virtual world with realistic visuals and 360-degree audio.

As made clear earlier, Project Morpheus is still in its infancy state in terms of final design and function. However, Sony is eager to share the hardware and SDK with developers so that early kinks can be fixed and exciting software can be developed. At GDC, Sony had a dogfighting shooter EVE Valkyrie and stealth actioner Thief playable inside Morpheus, as well as in-house demos “The Castle” and “The Deep” demonstrating the VR headset’s basic functions. In time, more games will be made for it. I think we know what Sony will be hyping when E3 rolls around this June.

Jump after the break to watch Project Morpheus in action.

[Via Sony] (Click here for more…)

Xbox One update brings social improvements, Twitch live broadcasting

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 9th, 2014

I told you it was coming and now it’s here: part 2 of Xbox One’s first major system update has arrived. As promised, the update provides improvements to the multiplayer and party systems. You can get to your friends list faster now that the Friends app shows you the list right off the bat when you open it up; to get to the activity feed simply swipe to the right. Also, party chat is turned on by default now so when you invite friends into a party you can get the conversation started immediately. The Friends app has also been updated to feature the missing “recent players” list. Another significant addition to the XB1 is live broadcasting. When the Twitch app gets updated this week, gamers will be able to say “Xbox, broadcast” to stream their gameplay live to other platforms. Twitch also allows you to watch stream from other Xbox One gamers as well as other platforms like PS4 and PCs. Though live broadcasting gameplay was a major feature that shipped with PS4 at its launch, Microsoft may have the upper hand now since their console extends the ability to share and view beyond their own system.

Just like the first update, this new one will automatically download while your console is “Instant On” enabled; if it isn’t you’ll be prompted to download and install it the next time you turn it on. Interestingly, and quite annoyingly, Microsoft is also issuing a firmware update for its Xbox One wireless controllers. Connect your pad to the system via micro-USB and hit start, go to settings, system, update controller. The update open the controller to accepting the Xbox One stereo headset adapter as well as support for 1st and 3rd party headsets.

Click after the break to view the full list of updates packed inside the latest Xbox One update. You’ll also spot a brief video tour of the new update, as well as a first look at Twitch live broadcasting. The Twitch app update enabling this anticipated new XB1 feature goes live this Tuesday, March 11 to coincide with the launch of the even more anticipated XB1 exclusive title Titanfall.

[Via Xbox 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Compare ‘Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes’ graphics on next and last-gen consoles

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 23rd, 2014

Hideo Kojima’s next installment in the Metal Gear franchise arrives next month, so Kojima Productions is giving gamers a closer look at the new title that’s coming to next-gen consoles (namely Xbox One and PS4) as well as their predecessors (Xbox 360 and PS3). The video embedded above shows how Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will look on all four consoles. Graphics are stunning on the next-gen platforms, of course, but this clip is absolute proof that last-gen hardware still has much life left in it. Take a look for yourself.

Note: The Xbox One version of the game runs at 720p while the PS4’s runs at 1080p; they both, however, run at 60 frames-per-second. As for last-gen hardware, the game runs at 720p and 30fps on both. View screenshot comparisons here.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes releases on all aforementioned platforms March 18.

Xbox One receives its first major update with another one on the way

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 16th, 2014

If you flipped on your Xbox One over the weekend then you were privy to the console very first significant update. Though the majority of new improvements are under-the-hood (namely stability and bug fixes), users will notice a few changes in appearance and functionality. A tiny yet welcome addition to the home screen is a battery indicator letting you know how much juice is left in your controller; if you don’t see it simply tap the Xbox button on your pad and it’ll reveal itself. Additionally, the My games & apps section has been updated and organized separating installed games and apps into respective folders. You can now “manage” games and apps; you can view how much space they take up and delete them from you console if you so choose. Also, users can see exactly how much space they have remaining on their HDDs. A download queue is also located inside the My games & apps section; you can pick the order in which you want your content to load from there. Lastly, the One now works with any USB keyboard–browsing with Internet Explorer just got a lot easier. Jump after the break for the full update breakdown.

The update rolled out to Xbox One owners over the weekend. If you have the “Instant On” feature enabled then your console will automatically download the update while it’s in sleep mode. If you turned that feature off then you’ll be prompted to download and install the update the next time you boot up.

Microsoft says this is phase one of a two part update coming to Xbox One. The next update will roll out in March and it promises improvements to the multiplayer and party systems. Stick it here to find out when it drops.

[Via Microsoft 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Sonic & friends return in ‘Sonic Boom’ game, TV series & toy line

Posted in News,Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on February 9th, 2014

Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back into the limelight with a new video game, animated TV series, and a fresh toy line. It’s all being introduced under a new Sonic brand called Sonic Boom.

The game is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment and Sanzaru Games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, respectively, in collaboration with Team Sonic. According to a blog post, the game will “introduce exploration, combat and a new Enerbeam tether mechanic that will allow the Sonic Boom world to be discovered in totally unique ways.” A launch date for the title has not been announced yet.

The game serves as a prequel to the TV series which is also called Sonic Boom and is being co-produced by SEGA of America Inc. and OuiDO! Productions. The CG show is described as “an ensemble comedy consisting of 52 x 11-minute standalone episodes packed full of high-adrenaline action. Every episode starts from a small character-driven story and explodes into an epic tale of saving the world, robot battles and more.” Sonic Boom is schedule to premiere during the during the 2014/15 season on Cartoon Network.

The Sonic Boom franchise features classic characters like Tails, Knuckles, and Doctor Eggman but with a twist; their physical attributes have been updated–as you can see in the image above Knuckles has bulked up quite a bit and Sonic wears a brown scarf around his neck. Toy partner TOMY “will develop a comprehensive toy range across a broad number of categories including plush, action figures, RC, role play, vehicles and novelty.”

Sega’s John Cheng commented on the latest Sonic revival: “We want to ensure that the Sonic brand continues to evolve and appeal to new generations of Sonic fans and this different look introduces a fresh approach that will be at once both familiar and new to consumers. We are committed to supporting this initiative to provide great entertainment to fans for all aspects of their lives.”

Check out clips from the upcoming game and TV series after the break. The title looks extremely engaging and I’m excited to see how the development teams tap into the unique Wii U GamePad and 3DS’ functionality repertoire to control Sonic and friends. The show looks like a ton of fun. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view concept art from the game and the show.

[Via Sega] (Click here for more…)

Microsoft names new CEO Satya Nadella

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 9th, 2014

Bill Gates. Steve Ballmer. Satya Nadella. On February 4 Microsoft appointed its third CEO in its 40+ year history. Under Ballmer’s management, Microsoft couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile front (Windows Phone is in a distant third place in terms of adoption rate behind Android and iOS) and Windows 8 could not surge the waning sales of PCs. Additionally, Microsoft’s tablet entry the Surface didn’t make waves when it hit the market; Apple’s iPad and the many Android powered slates continue to dominate the field. So this past summer the enthusiastic Ballmer announced his retirement from the company after 33 years and over a five-month period Microsoft vetted various industry players to take over the coveted top position and in the end Mr. Nadella was named company Chief Executive Officer.

Nadella is no stranger to Microsoft; in fact he’s been with the company since 1992. As Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group he oversaw the company’s move to the cloud and the development of massive cloud infrastructures supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. Nadella, 46, was born in Hyderabad, India; like Bill Gates he has a background in computer science, and like Ballmer he also has a business background.

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Gates in a press statement. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

In addition to naming Nadella CEO, Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume “a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

Jump after the break to watch Gates welcome Nadella as the new CEO and get to know Nadella in a brief interview clip. Click here to learn more about MSFT’s new CEO.

[Via Microsoft] (Click here for more…)

Macintosh turns 30

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 3rd, 2014

The Macintosh was introduced to the world on January 24, 1984. This year the Mac turns 30 years old and Apple is celebrating this major milestone with a special new portal on their website featuring an interactive, nostalgic and knowledgeable Mac Timeline. You can scrub through every year from 1984 to 2014 and discover how the Mac has made such a significant impact in the world. There’s also a section called My First Mac and you can share your story with the Apple community and learn what people did with their revolutionary computers.

And it wouldn’t be a proper Apple celebration without awe-inspiring video to go along with it. Embedded after the break are three. In “Thirty years of innovation” creative types like Moby and Hans Zimmer wax poetic about the Mac and how it changed their lives and even more so the world. The next video is even more powerful; on January 24, 2014–on the Mac’s 30 year anniversary–Apple sent 15 camera crews armed with iPhone 5s’ all around the world and the end result is pretty incredible. Over 70 hours of footage was edited down to a 1 minute 27 second clip that acknowledges the sheer power and capability of modern technology. Watch it–along with a behind-the-scenes video narrated by director Jake Scott (son of filmmaker Ridley Scott)–after the break.

Truly remarkable stuff. Happy Birthday, Mac. (Click here for more…)

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Apple reports 2014 Q1 earnings: $13.1b profit on $57.6b revenue

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 2nd, 2014

On January 27 Apple reported its 2014 first quarter financial results. Apple posted a record $13.1 billion profit on $57.6 billion in revenue. Compare this to one year ago, that’s the same $13.1 billion profit and up on $54.5 billion in revenue. Says CEO Tim Cook: “We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services. We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better.”

Now let’s break it down by product category. Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 47.8 million in the year-ago quarter); a record 26 million iPads (compared to 22.9 million); and 4.8 million Macs (compared to 4.1 million). iPod sales continue to decline at a steady rate.

Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue between $42 billion and $44 billion.

[Via Apple]

iTunes shares 2013’s top-selling albums, movies, TV shows, apps & more

Posted in Entertainment,Movies,Music,News,Technology,Television by Scott Meisner on December 30th, 2013

Apple’s iTunes, App, and iBooks Stores have truly become the destination on the Internet to discover and download the latest and greatest in music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books. And every year the house that Jobs built tallies the best-selling media, so let’s take a look.

In music, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience is crowned the top-selling album of 2013. Also landing in the top 15 are Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist, and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The top-selling song? M&R’s “Thrift Shop,” followed by Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” In addition to these top-selling lists, Apple has hand-picked Editor Choice awards; namely, JT is named Artist of the Year, M&R’s The Heist is Album of the Year, Lorde’s “Royals” is Song of the Year, and Kendrick Lamar (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City) is Breakthrough Artist.

The top three best-selling movies are SkyfallWreck-It Ralph, and Argo. Apple named Gravity Best Movie and Despicable Me 2 Best Animated Movie. On TVBreaking BadDownton Abbey, and The Walking Dead lead the top-selling series of 2013. Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece is TV Show of the Year, Scandal is Best Breakthrough, and Orphan Black is Best Discovery.

The best-selling paid app is Minecraft – Pocket Edition; also making that list is Heads Up!, Temple Run: Oz, and Angry Birds Star Wars. The best-selling freebie? Candy Crush Saga, of course, followed by Temple Run 2VineGoogle Maps, and Snapchat.

The most popular books (fiction) are Dan Brown’s Inferno, E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Apple quite liked Tenth of December by George Saunders.

Click here to browse Apple’s Best of 2013 charts across all the various forms of media.

Nintendo releases ‘NES Remix’ for Wii U featuring classic games with a twist

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 21st, 2013

Still looking for a reason to pick up Nintendo’s Wii U? Well, here’s one: the house that built Mario is releasing a game collection called NES Remix that invokes gaming nostalgia with a twist. The collection includes 16 classic NES titles and each of them have been “remixed” with fun alterations; for example, a stage in Mario Bros. has been flipped and players must complete it backwards. Elsewhere, Link from The Legend of Zelda shows up in Donkey Kong with Mario and Pauline. In addition to the remixed stages, the collection also offers up “rapid fire” special challenges; in Mario Bros., for example, you can test how fast you can score 10 1-Ups in a row. The following NES titles come packed inside NES Remix:  Donkey Kong (featuring Link!), Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3ExcitebikeSuper Mario Bros., Mario Bros., The Legend of ZeldaClu Clu LandWrecking CrewPinballUrban ChampionBaseballTennisIce ClimberGolf and Balloon Fight. It’s out now exclusievlty on Wii U through the console’s eShop store for $16.32. Worth it? Worth it. Watch a trailer after the break.

[Via Nintendo] (Click here for more…)

Apple makes Mac Pro available to order, ships in February

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 21st, 2013

“The future of the pro desktop” is finally here. This week Apple made it possible for (wealthy) consumers to order the new and marginally improved Mac Pro through Apple.com. First announced at WWDC ’13, the Mac Pro comes configured in two ways: the base model, starting at $2,999, comes packed with a 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. The speedier $3,999 model sports a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. From there these models can be further upgraded before checking out. Apple says units will starting shipping in February. If you’re a heavy gamer or a professional creative in the TV and movie industries, this cylindrical powerhouse is just what the doctor prescribed.

Xbox One launches today

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 22nd, 2013

Exactly one week after Sony let loose PS4, Microsoft is replacing its aging console with Xbox One. And just like PS4’s release, gamers can expect a Day One patch to get the system working at full capacity and a brand new SmartGlass app for all your Xbox on-the-go and wireless slinging needs. Download the app today at iTunes and Google Play Store. Brush up on the hardware’s launch titles here.

The house that Bill Gates built is pimping their Xbox 360 successor to be the “one” stop destination for all your entertainment needs; for example, with its HDMI IN port you can run your cable box through the console and watch live TV while you’re gaming. It’s all exciting stuff but how will the new Xbox fare against the new PlayStation, a next-gen console that Sony built with hard-core gamers in mind first and entertainment needs later. Time, as they say, will tell.

So what are you waiting for? Jump ahead.

Update: Microsoft confirms that the Xbox One launch “was the biggest launch in Xbox history, with more than one million consoles sold through worldwide in less than 24 hours – surpassing day one Xbox 360 sales and setting a new record for Microsoft.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Xbox. “Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season.”

PlayStation 4 launches today

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 15th, 2013

The next generation of gaming has finally arrived. Sony launches PlayStation 4 today, November 15. Whether you preordered the sleek, black console months ago or if you’re waiting on line at a retailer, the PS4 is ready for action right out of the box. However, you should note that the system requires a Day 1 update that activates many features such as the ability to log into the PlayStation Network and play Blu-ray movies; so make sure your Internet connection is running smoothly! Also, don’t forget that Sony has pushed out a PlayStation App available for free in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store; it’s similar to Microsoft’s Xbox app in that it allows you to control the console’s menus, view your profile and trophies, and receive game notifications and invitations. One cool feature is that you can browse the PS Store on the go, download a full game and have it pushed to your PS4 so it’s ready to play when you get home.

A revealing video sits after the break. We’ve seen bits and pieces of PS4’s user interface, but now on launch day Sony is ready to dive in and show off some of the UI’s nooks and crannies. The nine minute clip previews the PlayStation Dynamic Menu (which replaces PS3’s Xross Media Bar) as well as a redesigned PlayStation Store.

So what are you waiting for? Greatness awaits.

Update: Two days after the PS4’s launch date, the company announced that it sold 1 million units during the first 24 hours after it became available on November 15 in the United States and Canada.

“PS4 was designed with an unwavering commitment to gamers, and we are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal,” said Andrew House, President and Group CEO at Sony Computer Entertainment. “Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29. We are extremely grateful for the passion of PlayStation fans and thank them for their continued support.” (Click here for more…)

Microsoft demonstrates Xbox One user interface ahead of launch

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 10th, 2013

Microsoft has been pretty coy about showing off Xbox One’s user interface…until now, that is. Xbox’s Yusuf Mehdi and Marc Whitten demonstrate the One’s UI and its speedy multitasking prowess in the 12-minute video embedded above.

They mostly demonstrate features we’re already aware of, but seeing truly is believing in this case. Sit down in front of your Xbox One-equipped TV and Kinect will sense your presence, recognize you, and automatically sign you into your Xbox Live account. If your buddy’s with you too, no problem; Xbox will sign both of you in and you can switch between your personalize dashboard and your friend’s simply by saying “Xbox, show my stuff.”

The One’s home screen is pretty straightforward. The middle, main section is called Home and there is the space that shows you your most recent live session, whether that may be a game or an app. To the left of Home is Pins; this is a customizable space where you can pin and save your favorite and most frequently used apps and content for easy access. And to the right of Home is Store; this space is divided into various storefronts such as Games, Movies & TV, Music, and Apps.

Multitasking on Xbox One, or jumping in and out of games and apps, is truly a breeze. In this demo, Yusuf and Marc are playing Forza Motorsport 5. Say “Xbox, go to Netflix” and the system will automatically pause the game and jump into the Netflix app. Say “Xbox, return to Forza Motorsport 5″ and you’ll jump back into the game exactly where you had left off. It’s just as easy to switch to Internet Explorer, Hulu Plus, and any other app you might have installed on your console.

Also discussed are the advantages of having your games system tied to your cable box. With the One’s HDMI IN port you can hook your TV feed into the Xbox and browse and watch live TV through the system. So, when you’re watching TV now you receive Xbox notifications and jump directly into a game when an invite is presented. You may also receive a Skype call when you’re watching TV and you just as easily pause your programming to initiate a video chat. Skype on Xbox One boasts a 1080p HD widescreen picture and Kinect will smartly track your movements as you move around your living space during a conversation.

Lastly, two new features of Xbox Live are demonstrated here. With Game DVR, gamers can record their gameplay, edit it and share it with friends via the Upload Studio app. You can even select picture-in-picture mode which will record your gameplay as well as instruct Kinect to record you and your narration as you play. With One Guide, you can browse your TV channel lineup by saying things like “Xbox, what’s on HBO” or “Xbox, what’s on ESPN.” You can also create customized favorites lists within One Guide with your apps; for example you can make it easy to browse Hulu Plus’ latest offerings right inside One Guide without having to jump into the app itself.

Side note: Speaking of digital entertainment apps, Microsoft has announced the full list of said apps that will be available on Xbox One at launch and you’ll find the full list after the break.

But words can only say so much. Hit play and discover just how fast and intuitive the new Xbox really is. Xbox One hits the market in just 12 days on November 22.

Update: Yusuf is back to demo another Xbox One feature not covered in the extensive video above. It’s called Snap and it allows you to “snap” or pin an app to your screen while you’re doing something else. For example, while you’re playing Forza you can say “Xbox, snap Internet Explorer” to pull up the browser  and view a website while you’re playing the game. You can even say “Xbox, snap TV” and you can watch live TV while you’re racing. It’s multitasking for the hyper-active generation. Watch it in action after the break. (Click here for more…)

Sony solidifies PS4 launch titles and digital entertainment apps

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 10th, 2013

It’s just five days until Sony releases its next-gen console the PlayStation 4. Previously we had only known the PS4’s “launch window titles,” those games that would release for the system before year’s end. Now Sony’s made known all 22 launch titles that will release alongside the console on November 15; they include 5 first-party games developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, 12 third-party titles, and 5 indie titles. See them all listed after the break.

In addition to announcing PS4’s launch titles, Sony also shared the 13 digital entertainment apps that will be available on the system starting day one and the most popular ones like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus are all there. The full list of apps follows after the break.

[Via PlayStation Blog 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Apple reports 2013 Q4 earnings: $7.5b profit on $37.5b revenue

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 10th, 2013

On October 28 Apple reported its third quarter financial results. Apple posted a $7.5 billion profit on $37.5 billion in revenue. Compare this to one year ago, that’s down from a profit of $8.2 billion and slightly up on $36 billion in revenue. Says CEO Tim Cook: “We’re pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year with record fourth quarter revenue, including sales of almost 34 million iPhones. We’re excited to go into the holidays with our new iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, iOS 7, the new iPad mini with Retina Display and the incredibly thin and light iPad Air, new MacBook Pros, the radical new Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks and the next generation iWork and iLife apps for OS X and iOS.”

Now let’s break it down by product category. Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 26.9 million in the year-ago quarter); 14.1 million iPads (compared to 14 million); and 3.8 million Macs (compared to 4.6 million). iPod sales have declined year after year ever since the introduction of the iPhone, and interestingly Apple is no longer reporting how many units sold in this product department.

Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue between $55 billion and $58 billion.

[Via Apple]

Sony gets nostalgic with its PlayStation brand over the years

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 26th, 2013

As we near the launch of the next generation of video games, it’s time to get nostalgic. Sony has produced a video that takes gamers all the way back to 1995–the year the original PlayStation was released–and it time travels across the various incarnations of the PS1, PS2, and PS3 all leading up to the present. Well, the near present; PS4 comes out in less than a month on November 15. Relive the magic that is the PlayStation boot screens and their unmistakable bleeps and bloops. You’ve got to admit, this 3+ minute clip hits the spot and it’s hard not to feel all fuzzy and then genuinely pumped for the next console from Sony.

To balance things out, jump after the break to watch Microsoft’s latest ad pimping its next-gen hardware the Xbox One. The focus this time around, thankfully, is on the games. The One hits the market on November 22. (Click here for more…)

Ubisoft delays anticipated next-gen title ‘Watch Dogs’ to spring 2014

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 19th, 2013

If you’re in the market for the next-gen consoles coming soon from Microsoft and Sony, I’ve got some unfortunate news for you. Perhaps the most highly anticipated launch title, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, has been delayed to spring 2014. The open world action-adventure stealth video game with the ability to hack into countless devices around you (think Person of Internet the video game) was supposed to be release alongside the Xbox One and PS4; now it won’t hit those consoles or the current gen systems until springtime. Ubisoft Communications manager Gary Steinman explained the reason behind the delay in a blog post:

Our ambition from the start with Watch Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming. It is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until spring 2014.

We know a lot of you are probably wondering: Why now? We struggled with whether we would delay the game. But from the beginning, we have adopted the attitude that we will not compromise on quality. As we got closer to release, as all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place in our last push before completion, it became clear to us that we needed to take the extra time to polish and fine tune each detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.

Understandable, sure, but it still stings.

Speaking of launch title delays, Sony has one of their own. The PS4 exclusive racing game Driveclub is also being pushed to 2014 because the developer team “requires more time in order to deliver on their vision.” Driveclub was supposed to come free to all PlayStation Plus subscribers as part of the Instant Game Collection; it will still come free to subscribers when it eventually releases, but for now Plus members will get platformer Contrast along with one called Resogun.

Samsung invokes nostalgia in smartwatch promos

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 13th, 2013

Check out these inspired adverts for Samsung’s wearable technology Galaxy Gear. Though buzz for the company’s smartwatch is at a low hum, these promos invoke a great sense of nostalgia and can’t be missed. The spot embedded above features life-like designs of classic wrist communication devices from shows like Dick TracyThe JetsonsThe Power RangersNight RiderInspector Gadget, and Star Trek. Another spot lies after the break and it features actual scenes from these shows all leading up to the introduction of Samsung’s new tech. They took a page out of Apple’s marketing playbook here and I say kudos. (Click here for more…)