Jam-packed Apple event introduces iPad Pro, iPhone 6s & all-new Apple TV (and so much more)

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 9th, 2015

Today is a HUGE day for Apple. The tech company managed to pack in so many updates across its ever-expanding product lineup. The Apple Watch, the iPad and iPhone families, and even the Apple TV all received notable boosts in functionality. There’s so much to discuss, so without further ado, let’s dive right into it. Jump after the fold for a comprehensive breakdown of the day’s events. (Click here for more…)

Microsoft dominates gamescom in Germany with Xbox One games lineup, software enhancements & welcome hardware additions

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 5th, 2015

This week Microsoft took over gamescom, the world’s biggest video games expo (even better than E3!) in Cologne, Germany. The Xbox maker hosted a media briefing, while the competition–namely, Sony and Nintendo–sat on the sidelines this go-around. The briefing played mostly like a reiteration of Microsoft’s E3 presentation, highlighting Xbox’s “greatest games lineup in history.” Numerous upcoming titles were previewed. Among the most prominent are these Xbox One exclusives: Remedy Games’ Quantum Leap, a “cinematic, story-driven action game” with a live action show baked inside is to Xbox One on April 5, 2016. Actors Shawn Ashmore (X-MenThe Following), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), and Lance Reddick (Fringe) are among the talent lending their likeness to the game. ReAgent’s cooking up Crackdown 3, the next installment in the third-person open world shooter, and it lands on Xbox One in summer 2016. It supports a 4-person co-operative campaign mode. Befriend a dragon in PlatinumGames’ Scalebound, an action-adventure RPG from renowned game director Hideki Kamiya, coming fall 2016. Killer Instinct Season 3 arrives in March with cross-platform functionality across Xbox One and Windows 10. From Mojang (the makers of Mincraft) and Oxeye Game Studio comes Cobalt, a new 2D platformer with multiplayer support. This one is coming to Xbox One and the 360 in October; the alpha version is out now for PC and Mac today. KickStarted game We Happy Few, from Compulsion Games, is a first-person stealth game that looks to be as unsettling as it does fun; it’s due out sometime next year for Xbox One and Windows 10. Halo Wars 2, from 343 Industries and Creative Assembly (Total WarAlien: Isolation), capped the briefing and received big applause from the press in the audience. The sequel to the 2009 real-time strategy game is coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in fall 2016.

For more from Xbox at gamescom, including software updates and new hardware announcements, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Apple splashes a new coat of paint across its iPod lineup, beefs up the aging touch

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 21st, 2015

It speaks volumes about Apple’s iPod division that Tim Cook’s company decided to roll out a new version of the iPod touch in a press release as opposed to dedicated stage time to it at a public event. The ubiquitous iPhone and its tablet counterpart the iPad play music and so much more, making the iPod touch, nano, and shuffle more obsolete than ever. Still, Apple is keeping its iPod line alive with refreshed innards and a splash of new colors.

First and foremost, the new, sixth-generation iPod touch packs the same A8 processor found inside the powerful iPhone 6. This boosts the music player’s graphics performance 10x and CPU performance 6x, it brings a 64-bit architecture to the device, and it supports Metal, Apple’s technology for developers that helps them make more immersive games. Additionally, the new touch also includes the M8 motion coprocessor for enhanced fitness tracking. *Note: TechCrunch reports that the A8 processor is slightly underclocked inside the touch (1.1GHz versus the iPhone 6’s 1.39GHz), likely to conserve battery life and keep prices down.

The cameras have also been upgraded on the touch. Around the back, the iSight Camera now sports an 8-megapixel sensor (up from 5 before). It supports slo-mo video recording in 720p HD at 120 fps, burst mode, time-lapse video, and high-resolution panorama shots. The updated front-facing FaceTime HD Camera also supports burst mode, plus improved HDR, face detection, and exposure control. Elsewhere, users will notice up to 3x faster WiFi speeds thanks to 802.11ac support; Bluetooth 4.1 is also on board.

The new iPod touch, which comes preloaded with iOS 8.4 and the new Music app with access to Apple Music, starts at $199 for the 16GB model. For another 50 bucks you can get it with 32GB of memory. 64GB and 128GB models are also available at $299 and $399, respectively. The largest model is exclusive to Apple retail and online stores. The new colors match the iPhone & iPad lineups; there’s space gray, silver, and gold, for starters, plus vibrants options in pink, blue, and (PRODUCT)RED. The 16GB iPod nano ($149) and 2GB iPod shuffle ($49) also received the same coat of new colors. All iPods are available to ship today.

Enjoy ’em while they last. As the iPhone, iPad and even the new gadget on the block, the Apple Watch, continue to cannibalize the market with their never-ending feature sets, the iPod’s future remains murky.

[Via Apple]

Microsoft solidifies Windows 10 summer release, reservations live today

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 1st, 2015

In Game of Thrones, Winter is Coming. In reality, Windows 10 is coming. Today Microsoft spilled the final bean surrounding the shrouded release of its next operating system. Without further ado, Windows 10 comes to market July 29. It brings with it a slew of enhancements and new features. Windows 10 feels familiar as it reverts back to the desktop you know and love from Windows 7; elements from Windows 8, including Live Tiles, are now found inside the revamped Start Menu. Internet Explorer is no more and Microsoft Edge takes its place as the leaner, meaner, and more secure native web browser. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant from its phones, is making her way to the desktop to help with all kinds of queries. Additionally, Microsoft is tying its ecosystem closer together than ever before by implementing a new Xbox app that brings your Xbox 360 & Xbox One gaming communities to Windows.

So how do I get my hands on the fresh OS, you’re probably wondering at this point. If you’re currently a Windows user, you may have noticed a small Windows icon taking up space in the lower right-hand corner of your display, sitting inside the Notification Area within the Taskbar. Tap it and you’ll be asked if you want to reserve your free copy of Windows 10. (If you don’t see it yet, Microsoft advises you visit this site.) After the simple reservation process is complete, Win10 will automatically download to your device on July 29; when it’s ready to install, the system will let you get it started at your convenience. It’s so easy, a kid can do it, or so Microsoft claims. Note that the free upgrade applies to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users and will only be offered for one year. Windows 10 is rolling out to desktops, laptops, and tablets first, soon to be followed by a wider release on Windows phones and the Xbox One gaming console.

Of course, Microsoft is selling Windows 10 to those few who are still running ancient versions of Windows such as Vista. Windows 10 Home goes for $199 next month, and Windows 10 Pro will cost $199. If you’re curious about upgrade paths coming from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, check those links provided by VentureBeat.

Be sure to jump after the break to acclimate yourself with MSFT’s new OS with a couple demonstrative videos.

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

Apple solidifies Watch release date & pricing, unveils HBO standalone streaming service, HealthKit, plus a shiny new MacBook

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 9th, 2015

On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook hosted the company’s latest keynote dubbed “Spring Forward” and it packed quite a punch. Everyone was expecting more details about the anticipated Apple Watch–release date and pricing was finally made known–but before getting to all that, Cook announced an exciting launch with HBO, he introduced a forward-thinking platform called HealthKit that aims to support the medical field in new and exciting ways, and a brand new MacBook packed with all kinds of cool technology made its debut. For all the details, skip after the break. (Click here for more…)

Nintendo deems the New 3DS XL ready for US gamers

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 15th, 2015

At last, the house that built Mario is spreading the (portable) love. After releasing the New Nintendo 3DS XL in Japan in October of last year, Ninty is launching the updated dual-screen portable game machine here in the States next month. The latest version of the 3DS boasts a slew of enhancements; most exciting is the inclusion of not one or two but three new control input mechanisms. The C stick (that small round nub located above the ABXY buttons) allows for intuitive camera control in games that decide to support it. And new ZL and ZR buttons positioned behind and below the top screen add even more functionality for gameplay. Nintendo has also modernized the 3D display; new face-tracking technology makes for a more stable and immersive experience. Elsewhere, an NFC chip is packed inside and with an upcoming software update you’ll be able to push your amiibo collection to Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Last, the camera has been improved and a beefier CPU will have you noticing faster game start-ups and load times.

The New Nintendo 3DS XL hits the shelves February 13 in black and red paint jobs for $199.99. Watch a video reveal after the jump. (Also coming out that day is the 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask–score!) [Note: Ninty is only releasing the New XL in the States; the New (regular-sized) 3DS remains an overseas exclusive, for now.]

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

Apple dates iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay & OS X Yosemite, intros updated iPads, iMac & Mac mini

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

On Thursday Tim Cook and company took the stage in Cupertino to make some new Apple hardware and software announcements. In addition to announcing an updated iPad Air, iPad mini, iMac, and Mac mini, Apple also dated the next version of iOS and OS X both coming in just a few days time. For the full scoop, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Google names latest Android OS Lollipop, loads it on new Nexus devices

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 15th, 2014

On Wednesday Google finally revealed the name of the next version of its mobile operating system almost four months after teasing “Android L” at the tech company’s I/O developer conference. Android Lollipop and its consistent look called Material Design will make its debut this fall on two new Nexus devices: the tablet Nexus 9 and the phablet Nexus 6. And “in the coming weeks” it will land on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices.

The Nexus 9, manufactured in collaboration with HTC, sports a 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 LCD display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and reinforced with Gorilla Glass 3. It’s powered by the 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver processor at 2.3GHz and 192-core Kepler GPU. It’s got 2GB RAM and offers 16GB and 32GB storage options. 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 are inside. An 8-megapixel camera sits on the back with auto-focus and LED flash, and around front there’s a 1.6-megapixel shooter. Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound technology are also included. Sold separately is a keyboard that attaches to the tablet magnetically that allows you to type at different angles. The 9 will be able available for preorder this Friday, October 17. When it releases November 9 it will start at $399 for the 16GB WiFi-only model. A $479 32GB WiFi-only and a $599 32GB WiFi plus LTE model will also be offered. Colors include Indigo Black, Lunar White, and Sand.

The Nexus 6, with hardware by Motorola, has a 5.96-inch 2560 x 1440 QHD AMOLED display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and Gorilla Glass 3. Humming inside is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 SOC at 2.7GHz and the Adreno 420 GPU. The rear cam is a 13MP shooter with optical image stabilization and dual LED ring flash, and it can capture 4K video at 30fps. The front-facing 2MP camera can do HD video conferencing. WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC inside. 32GB and 64GB storage options are offered. Hardware shades include Midnight Blue and Cloud White. You can preorder the Nexus 6 starting October 29. It will go on sale in November starting at $649 with no contract. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular will sell the handset at an undisclosed discounted price.

In addition to announcing the Android Lollipop powered Nexus 9 and 6, Google also outed a new set-top box called Nexus Player. Made with Asus, the Player runs Android TV and is primed to rival Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV as it will provide a one-stop destination for entertainment and gaming needs. The Google Play store is fully integrated to stream movies and TV shows, and apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube are accessible, too. The box comes with a voice-activated remote to enhance navigation and search, and sold separately is a gamepad for those who wish to play their Android games on the big screen with a video game console-like controller. Also, the Player is Google Cast-ready, meaning it acts very much like Google’s Chromecast dongle allowing you to wirelessly stream media content from your phone or tablet to the big screen. Preordering begins October 17, and the Nexus Player releases on November 3 for $99. The Gamepad will go for $39.

Jump after the break to meet the sleek new Nexus family.

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

Apple introduces new iPhones, a payment process, and a watch

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 10th, 2014

On Tuesday Apple held their highly anticipated event introducing to the world the next-generation iPhone, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus; Apple Pay, the company’s new payment process that hopes to revolutionize the way we checkout at physical and online merchants; and the Apple Watch, an entirely new entrant in a brand new product category for the company. Jump after the break for all the major details. (Click here for more…)

Amazon gets into the media streaming hardware business with Fire TV

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 12th, 2014

On April 2 Amazon unveiled their latest foray into the hardware space. After making ebooks and tablets the online retailer is directly competing with Apple TV and Roku with their very own media streamer called Amazon Fire TV. The $99 box comes packed with myriad subscription-based and streaming services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and of course Amazon Instant Video with Prime benefits to Amazon’s catalog of exclusive content.

There really are three things that set the Fire TV apart from the competition. First is its raw power. The box is powered by a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, 2GB of RAM, and it supports 1080p video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. The company is claiming it has 3x the processing power and 4x the memory of Apple TV and Roku. These specs allow for a fast and fluid experience navigating the UI and media playback. Such generous guts support Amazon’s anti-buffering initiative they’re calling ASAP, or Advanced Streaming and Prediction; instead of waiting 10+ seconds for a video to buffer and stream, the Fire TV will smartly predict the movies and shows you will watch and get them ready for streaming so when you hit play it will immediately begin playback. More specs: ’round back you’ll find a port for power, HDMI, optical audio, Ethernet, and USB. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also inside.

Amazon’s Fire TV also supports voice search. The included media remote sports a mic that listens to your audible search queries. Simply tap the voice button and speak into the remote to instantly search TV shows, movies, actors, directors, and genres. Of course, an on-screen keyboard is provided in case the software can’t pick up on what you’re saying for whatever reason. Note that the remote is paired to the streamer via Bluetooth so direct line-of-sight for control is not necessary.

Additionally, the box is being billed as a gaming machine. Does it compete with heavy hitters like the Xbox One and PS4–no way, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fight to become an affordable way to access easy-to-pickup titles like world-builder Minecraft and racer Asphalt. In fact, Amazon is so dedicated to making Fire TV a gaming destination that it is also selling a separately sold Amazon Fire Game Controller for $39.99 that is very reminiscent of Xbox’s pad featuring dual analog sticks, a d-pad, and ABXY buttons, as well as media controls. And on top of that, the company has formed Amazon Game Studios to develop games exclusively for the Fire TV such as third-person sci-fi shooter Sev Zero. Press the GameCircle button the Game Controller to view leaderboards and achievements across the Internet. Many games are offered today (a bunch of them are free) with “thousands” more on the way. Check out the Fire TV’s games and apps catalog here. Note that most games do not require the separately sold Game Controller for use, however some do.

What else? In addition to movies and TV, the Android-powered box also streams music (Pandora, Vevo, etc.) and it can wirelessly stream your photos and video saved in Amazon Cloud Drive. You can also mirror your Amazon tablet to your HDTV in the same way iOS devices can be paired with Apple TVs and your Amazon tablet can provide a second screen experience by pulling up content that’s related to what you’re watching on the big screen. Last, Amazon FreeTime allows parents to setup personalized profiles for their kids to access appropriate movies, TV shows, apps, and games.

Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase today. Get a closer look at the media streamer and its gaming controller in the gallery below, then jump after the break to see the UI in action, a sneak peek at Amazon-developed games, and the first commercial for it starring the insane Gary Busey.

(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.

‘Breaking Bad’ complete series comes in a barrel on November 26 (Alternate ending video inside!)

Posted in Hilarity,News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on November 17th, 2013

On Tuesday, November 26 the complete box set of Breaking Bad releases on Blu-ray and DVD. Except it doesn’t come in a box but inside a collectible replica money barrel! In addition to all five seasons of the hit AMC drama, the set is packed with over 55 hours of bonus material including a two-hour documentary that chronicles the filming of the final eight episodes and, yes, an alternate ending.

Said ending has already leaked onto the Internet and you can watch it now after the break. However, don’t freak out just yet; the inspired bit is just that–it’s a parody that involves Bryan Cranston waking up next to his Malcolm in the Middle wife played by Jane Kaczmarek having experienced a nightmare that pretty much sums up the bulk of Bad. Cranston steps into Hal’s shoes and Kaczmarek doesn’t miss a beat as his former TV wife Lois. Leading up to the series finale many Breaking Bad fans imagined Vince Gilligan’s show to be a prequel to Malcolm whereby Walter White gets put into witness protection and lands on his feet in that sitcom’s household; or it was all a dream, Newhart style. Though that never came to fruition, this fun and quite funny “alternate ending” should do just the trick for fans with such wild imaginations.

The Breaking Bad barrel, which also includes a 16 page booklet with a letter from Vince Gilligan, a commemorative challenge coin designed by Gilligan, and a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, is up for preorder today at Amazon for $201.29. Jump after the break to view the full list of special features. Fill the stockings with the blue stuff this holiday season and get your Heisenberg-obsessed loved one a money barrel brimming with the best of Bad.

Update: A couple more videos are now embedded after the break. Vince Gilligan sets up shop with a webcam to unbox the Breaking Bad barrel, and in another clip stars Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul get ready to read the series finale script for the first time. Also provided is a link to watch Cranston & Paul read the final moments of the last episode together for the first time at Cranston’s place; it’s all part of the aforementioned two-hour documentary included in the barrel. Enjoy! (Click here for more…)

Microsoft intros new Surface tablets

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on September 29th, 2013

Microsoft is updating its Surface tablets that showcase their redesigned operating system Windows 8. The Surface 2 is the successor to Surface for Windows RT; its 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p, it’s powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, and its battery life promises 10 hours for video playback. Its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 and its front and back-facing cameras have been upped to 3.5-megapixel and 5-megapixel, respectively; both can capture 1080p video and feature improved low-light performance. Preloaded with Office Home & Student 2013 RT and Outlook 2013 RT, the Surface 2 starts at $449 and will come in 32GB and 64GB configurations when it goes on sale October 22. Customers can choose from a black or white coat this time.

The Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface for Windows Pro; it packs the same 10.6-inch ClearType Full 1080p HD display as the Surface 2 but it’s faster as it’s powered by Intel’s fourth-generation 1.6GHz Core i5 processor. MSFT hypes a 75 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro thanks to the new processor and other internal enhancements. The device houses three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0, a mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and audio in/out. A two-stage kickstand, also featured on the Surface 2, gives users another angle to position their tablet. The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and will come in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8GB of RAM when it, too, hits the market October 22.

New Surface owners will get one year of free international calling and Skype hotspot access, along with 200GB of SkyDrive storage that is free for two years.

The new tablets will sell alongside some new accessories. The Touch ($119.99) and Type ($129.99) Covers are getting updated with thinner and light-weight designs. A new Power Cover ($199.99, coming in early 2014), which features a Type Cover experience, will extend your Surface’s battery life by up to 50 percent. A Docking Station for Surface Pro ($199.99, also coming early next year) will allow owners to easily connect desktop peripherals to their tablets, “taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant.” A Music Cover gives amateur DJs a new way to dive into the art of music making and remixing; release date and price is still TBA on this one.

Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the new Surface tablets and accessories.

[Via Microsoft]

Apple announces colorful iPhone 5c, secure iPhone 5s & dates iOS 7

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 14th, 2013

On Tuesday Tim Cook hosted an Apple event in Cupertino that introduced not one but two new iPhones. Also, Apple’s next-gen mobile operating system iOS 7 now has a release date and the company’s productivity suite and creative apps are about to become even more popular. Let’s dive in, shall we? (Click here for more…)

Nintendo drops Wii U price, intros Zelda bundle & affordable 2DS portable

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on August 29th, 2013

With the releases of Xbox One and PS4 fast approaching, Nintendo is making moves.

First up, a price drop. The Wii U is shedding $50 and will sell for $299.99 starting September 20. This is the black-coated 32GB “deluxe” Wii U that’s seeing the price decrease. The white 8GB “standard” version remains at $300 but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ninty decided to discontinue what used to be the cheaper model soon. With an even more competitive price tag and an onslaught of anticipated first-party titles coming soon (see below) perhaps the time is nigh to finally pull the trigger and pick up Nintendo’s next-gen entry.

Also hitting shelves on the 20th of September is a limited-edition Wii U bundle packed with the anticipated Gamecube remake The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. At the same $299.99 price point you get the deluxe console, a code to download a digital copy of the Zelda title from the Nintendo eShop (the physical disc doesn’t hit retail until October 4), one GamePad controller adorned with Zelda-inspired gold lettering, and a digital copy of Hyrule Historia, a book that details the chronology, history, and artwork of The Legend of Zelda series.

Next up: new hardware. The Nintendo 3DS is getting a new sibling and its name is 2DS. At $40 less than the 3DS, the 2DS eliminates the ability to play games in eye-popping 3D. Dual screens, cameras, and touch input remain intact, but the original hinge design is replaced with a flat look. The 2DS plays all 3DS games in 2D and it’s backwards compatible with all DS games. When it comes out October 12 for $129.99 it’ll be available in two hues: black/red and black/blue. Watch an introductory video after the break.

Lastly, the house that built Mario is pimping its upcoming games lineup as we near the holiday season. In addition to the aforementioned Zelda title, also in the Wii U pipeline are Wii Party U (10/25), Super Mario 3D World (11/22), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (12/6), and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Coming soon to 3DS (and 2DS) are The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (11/22) and Mario Party: Island Tour (11/22). For a list of third party games coming soon to Ninty’s home console and handhelds, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Google’s Chromecast makes streaming affordable, portable (also, Nexus 7 tablet refresh)

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on July 27th, 2013

On Wednesday Google made a couple product announcements and what we’re doing now, we’re diving right in.

First up is Chromecast, a new way to wirelessly stream content from your personal devices to your big screen TV. The hardware itself resembles a small USB stick, except inside of plugging into a USB port it goes into an HDMI port located on your HDTV. After being plugged in, Chromecast requires two things to function: it needs power (using included cables you can either plug it into a standard wall socket or a USB port on your TV) and WiFi. Land on the correct TV input and blam, you’re connected and ready to go.

Chromecast doesn’t actually boast a user interface. Everything is streamed and controlled by your personal device. For example, if you want to stream an episode of Arrested Development from Netflix, you’d open the Netflix app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet and click the “cast” button to wirelessly stream the video content to your TV. Once the content is projected to the TV, the device you’re streaming it from becomes the remote control allowing you to play, pause, and scrub through whatever you’re watching.

In addition to Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Play Music, and Chrome are currently compatible with Chromecast. In addition to streaming video and music with those apps, the inclusion of Chrome allows you to stream Tabs so you can browse the Internet on your TV. Google is letting developers get their hands on a Google Cast SDK preview so that more apps can become compatible with Chromecast. In the pipeline already is a new version of Pandora that will work with Chromecast with more promised on the way. And Chromecast works across a variety of devices; in addition to Android phones and tablets it also functions with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Macs and PCs.

So why buy Chromecast, especially if you already own an Apple TV or Roku or the like? I can think of two reasons right off the bat: one, it costs $35. Yeah, that’s it. You’ll want to own this thing just because you can. And then there’s ease of portability. Sure, you can unplug your Roku and bring it around the house, TV to TV, whenever you like. But can’t you imagine how simpler it’d be to transport something as small as a USB stick to get the job done? The only issue here, of course, is that Chromecast doesn’t support Hulu and Amazon Instant Video and all the other video streaming services out there. Yet. But once it does, Chromecast has the potential to shake things up in the entertainment space. For now, though, see it as an extremely portable and affordable way to bring Netflix, YouTube, and other Google services with you provided an HDMI slot is available to play.

Chromecast is sold at Google Play, Amazon, and BestBuy.com.

Hop after the break to learn about Google’s other product announcement, if you dare. (Click here for more…)

Verizon intros three new Droids into the fold

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 27th, 2013

Meet the Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, and Droid Maxx.

The Mini, as its name makes obvious, is the smallest of the bunch sporting an edge-to-edge 4.3-inch TFT display with an HD resolution of 1280 x 720. Inside there’s a Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System (that is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with a 400MHz quad-core GPU, natural language processor, and contextual computing processor), 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, a 10-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture, and a 2000mAh Li–Ion battery for up to 28 hours of usage or up to 14 days of standby time.

Verizon is calling the Ultra “thinnest 4G LTE smartphone available” measuring 7.18mm thin. It rocks a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with an HD rez of 1280 x 720. It packs a Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System inside (that is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with a 400MHz quad-core GPU, natural language processor, and contextual computing processor). 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard memory is standard here, too, as is a 10MP shooter with HD video capture and the 2130mAh battery (up to 28 hours usage or up to 13 days standby time).

And then there’s the Maxx. Its specs are nearly identical to the Ultra’s expect for its heftier size thanks to an extremely large battery. The non-removable 3500mAh battery promises up to 48 hours of usage (that’s two days!) or 25 days standby. Also, the Maxx has double the internal memory at 32GB. The Maxx also touts built-in wireless charging compatible with a charging pad sold separately.

All the new Droids are made with DuPont Kevlar fiber unibody design and Corning Gorilla Glass. The 4G LTE enabled phones run the latest version of Android, that is 4.2 Jelly Bean, featuring new software enhancements including Droid Command Center (an exclusive homescreen widget for users to easily access notifications for text messages, missed calls, battery level and weather), Droid Zap (a new way to share pictures with nearby Droid users), hands-free voice activation (Droid users can wake up their phones by saying “OK Google Now” and telling it what to do next), and Wireless Display (users can mirror what’s on the screen onto a Miracast-enabled HDTV).

The three Droids by Motorola are up for preorder today. After signing a two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, the Droid Mini can be yours for $99.99, available August 29. The Droid Ultra (made in black and red) and Droid Maxx both go on sale August 20 at $199.99 and $299.99, respectively. Pix in the gallery below. PR after the break.

(Click here for more…)

E3 2013: Microsoft and the Xbox One

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

At Microsoft’s pre-E3 #XboxReveal event, the veil was lifted away from the company’s next-gen hardware known as Xbox One. The event focused primarily on introducing the hardware (including the black box, the enhanced wireless controller, and Kinect 2.0) and the power behind it. Xbox One and its ability to act like a TV set-top box and serve as “the ultimate all-in-one home entertainment system” was the big highlight from that event. Though a handful of titles were teased there, MSFT would save the games for its E3 media briefing. For more, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

E3 2013: Sony and the PS4

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 15th, 2013

Like Microsoft, Sony held a pre-E3 event where they officially announced the next-gen PlayStation, the PS4. Without showing off the actual console, Sony filled in a lot of the blanks by talking up the advanced architecture that powers the machine, introducing the DualShock 4 wireless controller, a new PlayStation Eye camera, the system’s ability to share and stream gaming sessions, and the company even saved time to introduce some next-gen games. At last, Sony revealed the actual box behind it all and previewed many more games coming to PS4 (more than 140 of them are coming this year) at its E3 briefing. For more, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Apple upgrades MBP Retina Display processors, slashes entry point prices

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 18th, 2013

Last Wednesday Apple updated its MacBook Pro with Retina Display lineup with new processors and more affordable prices. The 13-inch MBP with Retina Display now starts at $1,499 (with 128GB of flash storage), and for $1,699 you can opt for a model with a new 2.6GHz processor and 256GB of flash storage. The 15-inch MBP with Retina also received a processor upgrades now featuring models complete with 2.4GHz quad-core and 2.7 GHz quad-core processors. Additionally, the Pro’s slimmer cousin the 13-inch MacBook Air also saw a price drop and now starts at $1,399 (with 256GB of flash storage). These new MBP and MBA models are available at these prices and with these specs today at Apple.com, Apple Stores, and authorized resellers.

[Via Apple]