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Jul 30, 2015 - 1:08 PM - by dgstorm
Fans of the Angry Birds series might be pleased to know that the true sequel, Angry Birds 2 is now available on the Google Play Store. Sadly, in may not be all good news, even if you are a fan. Apparently, the new version of Angry Birds is laced within even more in-app purchases than the previous versions (or at least that's the current perception).
Here's a brief description of how it works now: With Angry Birds 2, you now only have a maximum of three lives. If you run out of cards, you have to either spend gems (won in game) to continue or you will lose a life. Lives do regenerate in 30 minutes, but you can recharge for 60 gems. To put it in perspective, you get 80 gems for $1. Obviously you can buy even larger bundles of gems for quite a bit more money.
The main complaint is that this is makes it annoying to simply restart a level when you believe you've made a big mistake and still won't be able to beat it. If these complaints don't bother you, and you love the same gameplay formula as the original, then you will probably enjoy Angry Birds 2. Here's the link: Angry Birds 2 - Android Apps on Google Play
Jul 24, 2015 - 11:17 AM - by dgstorm
Why can't all of the auto manufacturers do this? Honda just announced that their Accord for 2016 will include support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To be clear, Honda isn't the first. GM and Hyundai have announced the same thing for some of their vehicles. Still, this is something that is likely very easy to do, so it seems like there's no reason (other than licensing agreements) why all new cars can't support the choice between Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for their infotainment hub. Regardless of the rant, here's the news regarding this announcement,
Now that Honda has put this functionality on their most popular car, it's probably only a matter of time before we see this filter out to nearly all vehicles. It's about time the ball started rolling...
On the dashboard, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirror smartphone apps that are useful and safe for a driver. The driver can control apps such as navigation, messaging and audio through dashboard controls or voice command. Rather than replace a car's existing infotainment system, these features give drivers the option of using their smartphones' familiar functionality, though the phone needs to be cabled to the car's USB port.
Honda's implementation takes advantage of its unique two-screen approach, which sets one LCD at the top of the dash, and another touchscreen-enabled LCD lower down.
Jul 21, 2015 - 10:56 AM - by dgstorm
And here we thought the Apple vs. Samsung court case was basically finished... It turns out it's like a monster in a horror movie that just won't die.
A large array of tech titans have penned a "friend of the court" briefing which supports Samsung against Apple in yet another appeal of the patent court case. Companies like Google, Facebook, HP, DELL, eBay & more all signed on to the document which is basically a protest of the way the court awarded "profit" damages in the Apple vs. Samsung case.
The initial ruling in the case was north of $1 billion, but the amount was later reduced to $548 million during a previous appeal. Samsung has filed a motion to completely reverse the overall decision. The argument in the "friend of the court" briefing contends that if the court orders Samsung to turn over total profits as damages, the legal precedent would eventually lead to stifled innovation, because it would open the door to more egregious lawsuits in the future.
The snowball effect they propose is that this would reduce incentives for various tech companies to invest in research & development. Their argument is that the damage result of this case doesn't make sense because complex technology like smartphones include thousands of different software and hardware components. By awarding total device profits damage based upon individual component infringements (as Samsung is being ordered to do in this case), any tech innovator would be vulnerable to patent infringement cases for the tiniest features, like a specific user interface creation that only appears on a single screen of an app.
Here is another example they gave,
“Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.“
Apple has requested Google's involvement in the briefing be dismissed since its Android operating system is used on Samsung’s handsets. Samsung has also asked the court to rehear the case with a full 12-judge roster rather than the 3-judge panel it used previously.
Disclaimer: The above image is intended as humor to fit the story. It is not meant to suggest that these companies are like horror movie monsters. The analogy might fit their legal teams though! :D
Jul 20, 2015 - 10:28 AM - by dgstorm
Samsung's latest Android tablet was just revealed, and it seems to be aimed squarely at the Apple iPad and iPad mini. There are two variants of the new Galaxy Tab S2. One includes a 9.7-inch display and the other has an 8-inch screen.
Here's the full spec list:
- 9.7-inch or 8-inch Super AMOLED Display
- Octa-Core chipset (1.9GHz + 1.3GHz)
- 3GB of RAM
- 32 or 64GB of storage
- 8 megapixel rear camera t
- 2.1 megapixel front camera
- Full WiFi a/c MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
- GPS w/ GLONASS
- 4G LTE
- Fingerprint scanner
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 5,870mAh battery for the 9.7-inch version
- 4,000mAh battery for the 8-inch variant
- Up to 128GB extra storage with included microSD slot
- 5.6mm thin
Pricing and availability have yet to be revealed, but we will keep you updated.
Jul 16, 2015 - 11:18 AM - by dgstorm
Most of the time, the news we get to report is pretty cool. Unfortunately, sometimes we "get" to report the bad news too. Today we are faced with that task again. Without giving any specifics, Netflix' CEO Reed Hastings announced to investors that the company plans to "carefully push" consumers toward a higher price model in the coming years.
This is executive parlance for "we are going to raise prices." Here's a quote with more of the details,
Hmmm... whether consumers take kindly to these eventual price increases depends on how large they will be. Netflix has been creating some solid unique content lately, and they plan to spend $1 Billion or more on new shows next year, so perhaps it will be worth it. It also sounds like they will roll out these higher prices a very slow rate, so perhaps it won't be too bad. Discuss your point of view.
Netflix may be less tolerant of widespread password sharing in the near future. The company has a one-stream, standard-definition package priced at $7.99 a month, but “we also want to motivate people to move up to the two-stream and the high-def and the ultra-high-def”, Hastings said, though he didn’t elaborate on what the incentives to switch plans would be.
Prices of current subscriptions won’t change this quarter, but Hastings said prices will increase over the next decade.
“We want to take it very slow,” Hastings said. “Over the next decade I think we’ll be able to add more content and have more value and then price that appropriately.”
Source: The Guardian
Jul 16, 2015 - 11:04 AM - by dgstorm
Now that the 90 day Apple exclusivity is over, HBO is bringing their HBO Now service to other platforms. They just announced that it is available for the Amazon Fire Tablets, and will be coming soon to the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. Amazon didn't specifically state which devices in their preview movie above, this means we will see the service come to Android related services and products soon too.
In fact, the industry is speculating we will get a Google Play Store and Chromecast announcement within the next day or two. Now, the only devices left out which don't have an official announcement of HBO Now is Xbox, Roku and Playstation. We will keep an eye out and let you know when/if that happens.
Jul 16, 2015 - 10:06 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Motorola wants to convince us we have a "relationship" with our smartphones. At least, that's what Moto's latest teaser for a new press event seems to suggest. While the marketing gimmick is a bit lame, we are excited to find out that Moto will be holding this marketing event (which will be on July 28th). We fully expect this year's lineup of Motorola X phones and more to be revealed.
The best part is that this is a bit early in the year for a Motorola reveal which is extra incentive for enthusiasm.
They will actually be holding three events in NYC, London and Sau Paulo. This makes sense considering the global appeal of the brand. Stay tuned here next week for all the details!
Jul 15, 2015 - 11:00 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Newegg, the online electronics retailer didn't want to get left out of all the big sale day fun. They are following Amazon's lead by offering a big sale of their own, called FantasTECH Sale. How droll...
Regardless of the cheesy name, there are some excellent deals to be had. Here are some links to just a few:
Of course, these are just a few of the really great offers. Here's a link to the Newegg main sale landing page for you to check out all of their deals: Computer Parts PC Components Laptop Computers LED LCD TV Digital Cameras and more - Newegg.com
Jul 15, 2015 - 10:58 AM - by dgstorm
Jul 14, 2015 - 10:24 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft's AI ladies will soon have a new BFF to compete with. Supposedly, Facebook is also working on their own digital assistant. This new feminine AI will supposedly be called, Moneypenny, after the secretary/assistant in the James Bond novels and movies.
Facebook claims the new service will have an engine driven by actual human responses, whatever that means, and it will reside inside Facebook Messenger. It will be interesting to see if Facebook can create a decent competitor to Google Now, Siri, Alexa and Cortana (Google needs to get a chic name too).
Who wants to take bets on which feminine AI will gain sentience and start baking human cookies first? :D
Jul 14, 2015 - 9:52 AM - by dgstorm
Jul 10, 2015 - 9:51 AM - by dgstorm
The above image is a fan render found randomly on the web.
Back in the early part of this summer there was a rumor that Samsung would be launching the Galaxy Note 5 ahead of schedule in July to pre-empt the launch of the Apple iPhone 6S Plus. That rumor was later refuted by Samsung's CEO JK Shin. It turns out that the rumor was partially true though. Samsung will indeed be launching the Galaxy Note 5 early, but it will be in mid-August instead of July.
Normally, Samsung usually launches the Galaxy Note series during IFA in September. This year Apple shared they would be holding their iPhone 6S and 6S Plus launch 6 days after IFA. It looks like Samsung's strategy is to get out ahead of the next iteration of the iPhone Plus model with their Galaxy Note 5.
This way they can potentially scalp sales from the Cupertino company and keep some users away from the next larger iPhone. This accelerated launch schedule also allows Samsung to ramp up their hype machine to market their phablet-sized device longer.
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