Holy smokes! I just recently counted how many MMOs I had loaded up on my main hard drive, and the number seriously gave me pause. I have, as of this moment, 25 different MMOs at my fingertips, beckoning me to play. And that’s not even counting the few single-player games and two instances of a completely separate beta install. And I have even already uninstalled some! Can this be normal for gamers? Could I have a problem? Or could I just belong to The Stream Team?I’m going to go with the final answer. In fact, after talking to others on the Massively team, I don’t really think I have a problem at all. All those games are there so we can jump in at a moment’s notice and entertain you on Massively TV. It’s all for the benefit of viewers. And because our HDs are so full, there are plenty of shows available to watch this next week. Take a look at the following schedule and see what tickles your fancy this time around.And because I do obviously need a bit of intervention, help select what games I uninstall next. Remember, though, doing so removes said title from my livestreaming line-up! Then share how many you have on your machine. 9:00 a.m. EDT: Champions Online – PsykopigYou know you need more Champions Online. That’s why Psykopig is back — to satisfy the vigilante in you!5:00 p.m. EDT: Vega Conflict – BeauBeau is looking at the browser-based MMO Vega Conflict for this week’s Rise and Shiny. What is Vega Conflict? Beau has no idea — that’s why he’s Rise-and-Shinying it!7:00 p.m. EDT: EVE Online – MikeEVE Online returns with daring feats and cunning… ships. Or something. Mike is on the mission path this week!9:00 a.m. EDT: Champions Online – PsykopigThere are villains to be beaten down and damsels to be de-distressed, so join in with the Pig as he hits Champions Online again!5:00 p.m. EDT: Age of Wushu – BeauJoin Beau and members of the Snail development team as they push Beau into his first character in Age of Wushu, the winning game for the Choose My Adventure column!6:00 p.m. EDT: World of Warcraft – DylanGet into the action with GGraves and the latest World of Warcraft patch coverage. See what’s new, see what’s the same, and get ready because it’s time for dungeons.8:00 p.m. EDT: Dragon’s Prophet – MJA dev-guided tour of the latest beta content before the game goes live sounds good, right? And if we throw in some Crystalline Dragon in-game codes? Sounds even better! So Join MJ for a romp through the lands and skies of Auratia and take part in the adventure. Who knows, you might get a dragon out of it.9:00 p.m. EDT: EverQuest II – MJAs promised, this is the day we make the Massively EverQuest Two-sday guild on Antonia Bayle! So join in and… well, join! After that, we’ll adventure in the far corners of Norrath.7:00 p.m. EDT: Hearthstone – MikeMike’s tussle with the world’s most addictive card game continues. Can he build one deck to rule them all?8:00 p.m. EDT: The Secret World – MJThere’s a golden golem out there, and MJ intends to find it and beat it into submission until she gets the spiffy loot bag it’s carrying. Join in as she torments these poor Guardians of Gaia.9:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. EDT: Star Wars: The Old Republic – LarryRaid night returns to its normal time! Progress is slow but fun. To help gear up, the team has been swapping between Terror From Beyond and Scum and Villainy. Tune in tonight to see which one they choose.5:00 p.m. EDT: EverQuest II – MJYour eyes don’t deceive you! EverQuest Two-sday has temporarily taken over Thursday as well, all so you can get a look at a number of the high-end two-man instances. Join in for this quick succession of duo dungeons.6:00 p.m. EDT: DotA 2 – DylanPrepare for the final battle between the Radiant and the Dire… for the next couple of weeks. Maybe that was a little anti-climatic, but this battle will certainly be action-packed! Join GGraves as he makes his final push at the fountain.7:00 p.m. EDT: World of Warcraft – DylanMore World of Warcraft patch 5.4 coverage with Dylan and his Paladin, Gravebrother.10:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. EDT: Guild Wars 2 – RichieSchool is back in session, and that means Richie is back to his morning streams. This week he’ll be playing Guild Wars 2 for his two-hour stream. Will he be tackling Super Adventure Box, leveling an alt, or hunting for world bosses? Tune in to find out!5:00 p.m. EDT: Path of Exile – DylanHack and slash your way through endless dungeons with GGraves in Path of Exile. Join in on the beatings or chat safely behind your keyboard as we explore this dungeon crawler with a deep character customization system.6:00 p.m. EDT: Star Wars: The Old Republic – DylanJoin GGraves for some mid-level Star Wars: The Old Republic. Check out the latest updates and chat with other Massively viewers as we cover SWTOR from the perspective of a Jedi Guardian.If you’re like some of the Massively staff, maybe it’s time to clear a few of those old games off your hard drive. But maybe you should also log in just one last time before you do…Ok, now that you’ve been playing those old games, which will you actually choose to uninstall today? It’s a good thing there aren’t any streams today to distract you (or make you want to keep even more!).Did you clear off some of those MMOs cluttering your poor computer? Good thing you can still watch those games here any time you want!Champions Online: Skating around on a little cloud of fire, Psykopig fought evil on a new hero.City of Steam: Beau wandered around the Nexus.DC Universe Online: Giganta was no match for MJ, with or without armor!DotA 2: There was plenty for Dylan to do besides fighting.EverQuest II: It was fabulous Fury night as MJ teamed up to take on The Hole.Final Fantasy XIV: It was a major motion picture cinematic extravaganza! That is, after MJ finally made it through character creation.Guild Wars 2: Richie attempted to go gray with Super Adventure Box Tribulation Mode.Hearthstone: Instead of venturing into space, Mike played cards.LOST SAGA: Devs joined Beau to show off the game.Mabinogi: CM Sabina and Beau finished off the Iria Saga with chapter 10.SMITE: For Lunchtime Livecast #76, Blake continued to demo new gods.SWTOR: Larry psyched out viewers with a different raid night.The Secret World: MJ’s mission mission to get enough AP for her new auxiliary weapon was a success — thanks to viewer support!World of Warcraft: Dylan played his Shaman; Mike did some random group healing.World of Warplanes: Mike flew the not-so-friendly skies.If you don’t have FFXIV: A Realm Reborn loaded up on your computer but you want to see all the initial cutscenes, then this week’s highlight is for you! Grab some popcorn and settle back because these this is a two-hour show filled with cutscenes galore.I have to admit, physically counting up all these games made me realize how many I actually have. I didn’t think it was near that many, but my directory doesn’t lie. If I hadn’t already deleted EVE, Defiance, and City of Heroes from the list recently, and had Global Agenda and SWG not fallen victim to drive reformatting, there would have been even more!So which ones should I say hasta la vista to? Which games should we scratch off our streaming and gaming lists for the foreseeable future? You can help me decide! Vote for the game you think needs to go first, and I’ll take your suggestions and give my poor HD a good fall cleaning.%Poll-84425%Bonus question: How many games do you have currently loaded on your gaming rig?%Poll-84451%Watching the Massively Stream Team play video games is the next best thing to playing them yourself! Join us every Monday morning for MJ’s guide to this week’s livestream schedule, classic stream reruns from last week, and all the best outtakes and ephemera.
Rogue Legacy’s Mac and Linux offspring are suffering from chronic lateness, but that should soon be at an end. Developer Cellar Door Games says it’s “very close” to being done with the ports, which it had to outsource.”We’re still working on another patch for Rogue Legacy. It hit a few snags, but we really want to get some extra content out for those people who are interested,” Teddy Lee of Cellar Door Games told us. “And we’ve also been discussing what our future project is going to be, but we haven’t gone forward with anything just yet.”The Mac and Linux versions may be delayed slightly again if Cellar Door decides to incorporate the latest content patch before launch.Lee tells us sales of Rogue Legacy have been better than expected, which has also caused slowdown as they attempt to get the business side of their house in order. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, y’all. He added, “We’re pretty sure word of mouth about our game has been one of the biggest reasons that it’s been selling as well as it has. It’s actually done well enough that we can start up our next project without worrying about finances so much, which is pretty amazing!”Beyond Mac and Linux ports, Rogue Legacy has been announced for “all Sony platforms.”
second time in as many trading days, shares of BlackBerry were halted in advance of some big news from the company. Today’s news is no less big. BlackBerry has just announced that it’s signed a letter of intent agreement for a sale of the company valued at $4.7 billion to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial (the company’s largest shareholder). Pending due diligence that’s expected to be completed by November 4th, the deal would see BlackBerry go private, with shareholders each receiving $9 per share in cash.In a statement, Fairfax Chairman and CEO Prem Watsa said, “we believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees,” adding, “we can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.”While BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has yet to offer any public comment on the news, the chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors, Barbara Stymiest, drew attention to that due diligence period in her statement, saying that “the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium.” As part of the agreement, BlackBerry would have to pay a termination fee if it accepted another offer. You can find the official announcement of the deal after the break. Show full PR textBlackBerry Enters into Letter of Intent with Consortium led by Fairfax Financial- BlackBerry shareholders would receive U.S. $9 per share in cash – Transaction valued at approximately U.S. $4.7 billion – Consortium permitted 6 weeks to conduct due diligence – BlackBerry entitled to go-shop during due diligence period, subject to payment of a termination fee in the event alternative offer acceptedWATERLOO, ONTARIO, Sep 23, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — BlackBerry Limited BBRY -5.67% CA:BB -6.61% today announced it has signed a letter of intent agreement (“LOI”) under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (“Fairfax”) has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence.The letter of intent contemplates a transaction in which BlackBerry shareholders would receive U.S. $9 in cash for each share of BlackBerry share they hold, in a transaction valued at approximately U.S. $4.7 billion. The consortium would acquire for cash all of the outstanding shares of BlackBerry not held by Fairfax. Fairfax, which owns approximately 10 percent of BlackBerry’s common shares, intends to contribute the shares of BlackBerry it currently holds into the transaction.The BlackBerry Board of Directors, acting on the recommendation of a special committee of the board of directors (the “Special Committee”), approved the terms of the LOI under which the consortium, which is seeking financing from BofA Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets, would acquire BlackBerry and take the company private subject to a number of conditions, including due diligence, negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement (the “Definitive Agreement”) and customary regulatory approvals.The Special Committee, chaired by Director Tim Dattels, was formed in August 2013 to review strategic alternatives for the company. J.P. Morgan and Perella Weinberg are acting as financial advisors and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP are acting as legal advisors.Diligence is expected to be complete by November 4, 2013 (“Diligence Period”). The parties’ intention is to negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by such date. During such period, BlackBerry is permitted to actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals (“Alternative Transactions”).If (A) during the Diligence Period (i) BlackBerry enters into any letter of intent or definitive agreement providing for an Alternative Transaction, (ii) BlackBerry ceases to negotiate with the consortium in good faith with a view to entering into the Definitive Agreement by the end of the Diligence Period, or (iii) an Alternative Transaction is publicly proposed or publicly announced and is consummated within 6 months following the end of the Diligence Period, or (B) during the 3 month period following the end of the Diligence Period, BlackBerry enters into any agreement providing for an Alternative Transaction with a person with whom discussions were held before or during the Diligence Period, then BlackBerry shall pay Fairfax a fee of U.S. $0.30 per BlackBerry share, provided, however, that no such fee shall be payable if the consortium shall have reduced the price offered below U.S. $9.00 per share without the approval of the board of directors of BlackBerry. In the event that a definitive agreement is signed with Fairfax the termination fee will increase to U.S. $ 0.50 per share.Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors, said: “The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the Company’s constituents, including for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax consortium.”Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Fairfax, said: “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world.”In addition to the consortium and its lenders being satisfied with all aspects of the due diligence to be carried out by them during the Diligence Period and the negotiation and execution of a binding definitive agreement approved by the board of BlackBerry, completion of the transaction will be subject to other customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals. There can be no assurance that due diligence will be satisfactory, that financing will be obtained, that a definitive agreement will be entered into or that the transaction will be consummated.BDT & Company, LLC, BofA Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets are acting as financial advisors, and Shearman & Sterling LLP and McCarthy Tetrault LLP are acting as legal advisors to Fairfax in connection with the transaction.About BlackBerryA global leader in wireless innovation, BlackBerry(R) revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry operates offices in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. BlackBerry is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market BBRY -5.67% and the Toronto Stock Exchange CA:BB -6.61% . For more information, visit www.blackberry.com.Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. When used herein, words such as “plan”, “target”, “will”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “may”, “should”, “intend”, “believe”, and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by BlackBerry Limited in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that BlackBerry believes are appropriate in the circumstances. Many factors could cause BlackBerry’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including those described in the “Risk Factors” section of BlackBerry’s Annual Information Form, which is included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F (copies of which filings may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov). These factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on BlackBerry’s forward-looking statements. BlackBerry has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 reviewA little over two years ago the Galaxy Note was nothing more than a weird, 5.3-inch abomination. Fast forward to 2013, where Samsung is now on its third generation device. What are the marquee features this time around? The Galaxy Note 3 has a 1080p 5.7-inch display, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and 3GB of RAM. The phablet also represents a major step away from the company’s notorious plastic backing, to a textured “leather-like” cover. The Note’s excellent battery life, brilliant display and top performance make it an ideal all-rounder for those wanting a bigger device. Read on for our full review.Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review (2013)Amazon’s been on a roll of low-key announcements recently with the company’s new Kindle Fire HDX, and its updated Kindle Paperwhite. The latter of those two devices remains largely unchanged from last year, except for a few minor tweaks: a faster processor, and an improved front light. Both of these tweaks help to make a great e-reader even greater, but are they enough to tempt consumers into dishing out $119? If you’ve already got last year’s device, than the answer is no. But, if you’re someone who’s looking to enter the market, than Amazon’s new Paperwhite is an excellent choice. Click the link above for our full review.Samsung Galaxy Gear reviewRumors of Apple’s new iWatch are heating up, while other companies are scrambling to show off their devices in the growing market of consumer smartwatches. It was only a matter of time before a large manufacturer like Samsung got involved in the wearables arena, and its first attempt is the Galaxy Gear. The Gear comes with a 1.6-inch AMOLED screen, downloadable apps and even a 1.9-megapixel BSI auto-focus camera. But, just like any other first-generation Samsung device, there are too many problems at the present for us to recommend the watch. Click through for more.Twitter’s $1 billion IPO, and 215 million monthly active usersThis week Twitter finally made its initial public offering official to the tune of $1 billion, split up over 472,613,753 shares of common stock. The company will be trading under the symbol TWTR (not TWTRQ), and hopes to begin this year as long as the market remains strong. In its filing, Twitter also confirmed that it now has 218.3 million monthly active users, collectively pulling in $253.6 million in revenue over six months. For more details on the IPO and all of its numbers click the link above or head straight to the SEC’s website.You also might like:Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review (2014 edition)Amazon Kindle Fire HDX review (7-inch)FBI seizes black market website Silk Road, arrests its founderGoogle will launch a native Google Music iOS app later this month
iOS 7. Unfortunately, it’s more of a glitch than anything Apple intended to include, so there’s no official guide from Apple on how to do it. But don’t worry; we’re here to help.Placing folders within folders is a fantastic way to clean up your home screen, and it can be a godsend if you want to send unwanted, undeletable apps into a dark, unseen corner.Here’s how to pull it off:We’ll start with these four apps, but you can use absolutely whatever apps you want.1. First, we combine two apps to create a folder, and then combine the remaining two apps to create a second folder.2. Now, hold a finger on one of the folders so that it becomes grayed out.3. As soon as it does this, press the Home button twice to bring up the multitasking menu. This trick will not work if the apps begin to wiggle (when they enter the organization mode) before you hit the home button. You have about a half a second to get this right.4. From the multitasking menu, click on the home screen. You should see the folder icon remains enlarged and grayed out, and also that the folders are now wiggling.5. Now, click the destination folder (the one you want to add the first folder to). You should see the icon of the first folder hovering above.6. Now, click the home button once. Ta-da! You now have a folder within a folder. The best part is that these folders work flawlessly, and you can navigate through them, launch apps from within them and remove apps just as you would otherwise.You can use this trick to further nest additional folders, and I’ve been able to create five folder levels before eventually stopping, though I’m pretty sure you can just keep going until you get bored.This glitch was first noticed during the iOS 7 beta, and though I’m sure Apple is aware of it, they haven’t taken any steps to correct it, and as of the current iOS 7.0.1, it still works perfectly. In fact, during the beta phase, any nested folders you had created would reset to the home screen after a device restart, but that’s been changed, leaving all nested folders in place when the phone is power cycled.That said, the company could squash this at any time, so if you really fall in love with nested folders (as I have) take care before updating.Update: How to add apps to already nested foldersYou can add apps to already nested folders very simply, though it’s slightly more complicated than just dragging the app to the folder.First, highlight the app you wish to move by holding your finger on it and then immediately double-tapping the home button, just as you did in Step 3 above. Now, from the multitasking menu, click on the home screen.Then, click on the first folder (the one holding the nested folder you want to move the app to), and then click on the nested folder. Once inside the nested folder, click the home button once and the app will relocate itself. Easy!
In August of 2012, a jury awarded Apple US$1.05 billion in damages after finding that Samsung smartphones infringed upon a number of Apple patents.Since then, the total award amount has been in flux. In July of this year, Judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages award by $450 million on account of jury error. Furthermore, a trial is scheduled for November in order to determine how much of the remaining $600 million balance should be awarded to Apple.With the upcoming trial on damages about two months away, Apple late last week filed a motion seeking to preclude Samsung from making any references to “prior art” (or otherwise attacking the validity of Apple’s patents) during the upcoming trial.Apple’s brief reads in part:A jury has already found Apple’s patents to be valid and infringed, and those issues are not to be relitigated. Rather, the retrial is limited to determining the appropriate amount of damages for Samsung’s infringement.What specifically raised Apple’s antennae is that Samsung’s list of witnesses and exhibits strongly suggests that the Korea-based tech conglomerate is, in fact, hoping to raise questions as to the validity of Apple’s patents.For instance, Apple notes that two of Samsung’s proposed witnesses previously testified during the initial trial and exclusively discussed the alleged invalidity of Apple’s patents. Why then, Apple asks, are they being called back if the only issue on the table is how much Samsung owes Apple?Coupled with Samsung’s efforts to “introduce at trial dozens of documents related to its invalidity arguments,” it’s clear why Apple is crying foul.Apple bluntly states that any debate regarding the validity of Apple’s patents is inappropriate, irrelevant and completely outside the scope of the upcoming trial.Permitting Samsung to make arguments about the prior art would prejudice Apple by improperly suggesting that Apple’s patents are not valid — contrary to the first jury’s determination. It would also confuse the issues and distract the jury from the limited damages questions that remain at issue in this case. Accordingly, preclusion is appropriate.A hearing on Apple’s motion is scheduled for October 17.I’ve uploaded the filing to Scribd for anyone interested in taking a closer look at it.
Olivia took the time to address aspects of Hearthstone that’s lacking. Today I wanted to add my own thoughts to that list from the competitive perspective. I’m talking things like tournaments, spectator functions, and other quality of life changes for competitive players. I get that Hearthstone was designed from the ground up as a casual game that anyone could pick up and play a quick 10-15 minute game. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options to expand and attract the players who like the tournament scene. I used to frequent FNMs (Friday Night Magic), Regionals, and other tournaments (like Game Day)! However, I’ve never attended a larger Grand Prix.So this is my open letter to the developers. Think of it as a wishlist for the players who want a little bit more. Limited play for allArena drafting needs to be an option for normal players. It’d be a fun component to just draft and pick new cards in a less intense setting with nothing on the line. This lets newer players get into the drafting mindset without much of a consequence. They can learn how to construct a deck with the cards and tools they’re given without facing any severe consequence. Not only that, it’s an alternative format for players who want to get their Hearthstone on with their friends. It can be so tiring to beat up friends with the same decks repeatedly! Most of the tech is already there with the drafting engine and such. All that’s needed is a way to tie it in and have it accessible for friends. Allow two people to draft their deck and provide an option to play a best out of 3 or 5 match. At the end of it, maybe save the deck. It won’t be fair to allow you to keep the cards, but at least you can keep the list and refer to it.Unique Deck IDsA unique ID for decks is needed so that decks can be looked up and scanned quickly to ensure the submitted deck list is correct. Certain card playing programs generated a unique deck identification code. In online tournaments that I participated in, players caught using a deck with a code that didn’t match the one they registered with resulted in an an automatic disqualification for the player. Even during major tournaments (real life ones), players had to submit their deck list in advance. Tools like this can help prevent cheating. There’s no real way to enforce deck lists other than through an honor system.SideboardIn other games, it is certainly possible to swap cards in and out of your deck and give yourself an advantage against other specific class or deck types. However, the sideboard pool is usually limited. In Magic: the Gathering, decks consisted of 60 cards and had a 15 card sideboard pool where players could swap any of the 15 cards in that pool for cards in the main deck. In Hearthstone, there isn’t really such an option. You can make adjustments in the deck editor but there is no way to enforce any kind of limit. In a tournament setting, the theory is that a player could change any card they want and add or remove anything in their class or in the neutral pile and it would take a keen eye to notice. What I’d like to see is that when players are in between matches, they have the opportunity to go to a special deck editing screen where they have the ability to add and remove cards from their sideboard pool. Perhaps a limit of 6 to 8 cards in the pool would suffice.Spectator modeHearthstone is a popular game to watch on Twitch right now. I’m not sure how much of that is due to beta-less players who are itching to get their fix, but even accounting for that, there does seem to be a demand for the ability to spectate games. It would do wonders for a competitive scene just with an observer mode feature. There would be no need at all to rely on individual player streams.Mini-tournamentsThis is a similar idea to a Sit and Go tournament for poker. Have various lobbies with a maximum player sizes of 8. Once 8 players have joined and are ready, they can go in and compete in a small quick tournament done Swiss style with the top players earning gold, dust, boosters, or a combination thereof.Actual tournamentsHere’s another possible idea to spend and earn gold. Suppose players can enter a weekly tournament. Play it through all the way to the end and the ones that end up in the playoffs (or bracket round) earn varying degrees of prizes similar to the way arena matches work. On top of that, have the top winners earn a bye or a free entry into a much more prestigious monthly tournament with even larger gold prizes, booster packs, or select epic and legendary exclusive cards (maybe with alternate or gold art).Team playIt’d be cool if there were additional multiplayer formats. The one team format I used to participate in was called two-headed giant. Two players were on the same team and they took their turn together but had a shared life pool. However, do that within Hearthstone means much more screen space would be needed. Team drafting is another fun format. I can envision that similar to the way Arena works right now except you’re selecting say 60 cards (or 90, if there’s three players). Then that becomes your card pool and players can assemble their 30 card decks from that pool and queue into matchmaking or challenge other teams specifically.Speaking of team play, I was mentally throwing around the idea of how guild functions could work within Hearthstone. Other than the ability to put a guild tag in your handle and identify you as a part of a group, what possible benefits could there be? The one idea I thought of was the capability of sharing cards with people. If I wanted to offer someone to use Ysera, I could temporarily loan the card to them to use. I would still retain ownership of Ysera but once that player leaves the guild, all the loaned cards return to me. I think it’d be a nice way to “try out” cards in a deck before committing the Arcane Dust to purchase it. It also gives me something else to do with all these duplicates that I might end up with. Other than disenchanting, what else can I do with 4 copies of Sylvanas?We probably won’t see much (if any) of these features for a long time. Hearthstone is still in a beta environment and Blizzard’s ensuring that all the bugs and kinks are worked out first before it gets released for the general public. Even so, one can dream!Oh andspeaking of wishlists, can we nerf rogues yet?
Google Glass might be the darling of the augmented reality wearable market, other companies like Vuzix and Epson have had skin in the game for much longer than the folks in Mountain View. One such firm to have caught the AR bug early is Optinvent, which debuted an early version of its ClearVu head-mounted display way back in 2009. Fast forward to 2013, and Optinvent is ready to move on to the final production stage of what it’s now calling the Ora, which it hopes will give Google Glass a run for its money, not just with superior optics but a softer blow to the wallet as well. We had a chance to sit down with CEO Kayvan Mirza at the Glazed conference in San Francisco, where we learned more about the Ora and had a chance to try it on ourselves.One of the first things Mirza told us was that the Ora offers “true AR,” which overlays the entire display in front of your eyes much like a heads-up display unit. This is unlike Glass, which he says offers more of a “companion display” where you have to look up to view it. Don’t be concerned about the Ora completely blocking your sight however, as it has a very unique feature we’ve yet to see in wearable optics. It’s called Flip-Vu, and it lets you pivot the display downward into what’s called dashboard or glance mode so that it’s now more of a companion display rather than one that dominates your entire field of vision (You can see a demo video of this after the break). Mirza says glancing downward is a much more natural position than looking up, as we tend to look down at our phones and other devices anyway. Gallery: Optinvent Ora | 8 Photos 8 +4 Mirza also claims that the Ora’s display is about three times the size of the one on Glass, with a 24 degree field of view and a 4:3 full landscape mode that results in the equivalent of an 85-inch television floating in front of your eyes. The actual display is only 4mm thick and is essentially a piece of molded plastic. In fact, the entire device is made out of injection molded plastic, which Mirza says is key to manufacturing the product on a large scale. The display also boasts an incredibly 3,000 nits of brightness, which almost seared our eyes when turned up to the max as we were trying it on.The Ora that we wore is strictly a pre-production edition that’s not exactly designed for primetime — and frankly, it showed. We thought it was quite a clumsy and bulky affair that weighed a bit heavily on our face. It also took a bit of practice before we were able flip the display up and down. That’s because this version was made from rapid prototyping or 3D printing technology and not the injection molded plastic that will be in the final version. Still, we were impressed by the clarity and brilliance of the display, even if it was a tiny bit choppy at times due to how far out the glasses were on our nose. The glasses are outfitted with photochromic lenses that dim in bright sunlight. According to Mirza, there’ll be a version of the Ora that can be detached and mounted on existing glasses too, though we’re not sure yet on how that’ll look like.To the right of the display is the main guts of the Ora. It houses a camera and an ambient light sensor, while a noise-canceling microphone is located near the right handle. The battery compartment is on the left and contains a roughly 800mAh battery that apparently lasts eight hours on a “normal day” and about four hours under constant use. Also packed in the Ora are WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, an accelerometer and a 9 axis motion sensor. As far as software goes, it runs on Android Jellybean 4.1.2.Optinvent has partnered with Wikitude to come up with an SDK for the Ora, which it hopes to get out to developers this year. Indeed, interested devs can go ahead and pre-order a unit right now from the company’s website for around 700 Euros, which is roughly $951. Mirza tells us they hope to ship the dev units by December of this year, and if all goes well, a cheaper and more streamlined consumer version in a year’s time. We’re not sure if Optinvent will get its AR glasses down to the sub-$200 mark as was mentioned all those years ago, but you can go ahead and enjoy the hands-on pics above and promo video below in the meantime.
Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.Motorola’s return to the smartphone market after a year ensconced in Googliness raised many questions about how the handset pioneer would introduce a competitive smartphone without appearing to have most-favored manufacturer status from Google. The company responded in two ways. First, instead of trying to smother the look and feel of Android, it embraced it nearly to the extent of a Nexus phone. Second, it added a few thoughtful differentiators. These include a pulsing time display that adds notifications even when the screen is off and camera activation via a twist of the wrist. More notably, it enhanced access to Google Now by enabling hands-free activation with the prefix, “OK, Google Now…”LG, another Android handset company that had fallen from feature phone grace, came next with its G2. Like the Moto X, the G2 implements some clever sensor-driven and gestural features, including a “knock” (double-tap) to activate the screen and an automatic call-answering feature activated by putting the phone up to your face. But unlike Motorola, LG muscled up its device with a nearly bezel-free 5-inch display, a battery that more efficiently fills the case, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, which sees its US debut in the G2. (LG also highlighted much of its rear-mounted power and volume control placement, which is different, but not necessarily better (at least for the right-handed). If these kinds of usability-focused enhancements have raised any questions for Samsung, which has seemingly piled on whatever it can think of into its smartphones, the global smartphone leader is turning a deaf ear. With their latest phones, Motorola and LG have focused on driving convenience in addressing common scenarios. But with the Galaxy Note 3, Samsung continues to seek power user justification for its S Pen. The stylus’ box gesture, for example, which allows you to embed one app anywhere on the screen, is not only a power user feature, but also one that could be achieved without Samsung’s fancy little stick. Samsung also pours its energy into a lot of functionality that replicates things built into Android or common apps. Adding on to the likes of S Voice, ChatOn and WatchOn, the company has added Scrapbook, a tidbit-collection facility that competes with Evernote even as it integrates with it, and My Magazine, a Flipboard clone put to work to compete against HTC’s BlinkFeed.Perhaps the best examples of Samsung’s love of features that embrace marginal utility are ones that require multiple Galaxy smartphones to work.Perhaps the best examples of Samsung’s love of features that embrace marginal utility are ones that require multiple Galaxy smartphones to work. Topping a Group Play feature that allows one to use four Galaxy smartphones as surround speakers (despite smartphones being infamous for poor-quality speakers), the company added Multi-View, which allows you to line up four Galaxy Notes and play a video that stretches across their displays. Creators of tiny video walls rejoice.Perhaps there is a method to the madness; Samsung could be seeking to differentiate itself for those who embrace technology for technology’s sake, who buy into the promise of the possible versus the practical. Many features that we take for granted and use today were once considered experimental, gimmicky or derivative and Samsung may just be hedging its bets. But bleeding-edge features that approach the status of demos do not line up with the enormity of the market that buys even Samsung’s flagship phones (or perhaps four of them). For Android handset vendors such as Motorola and LG, and others who would like to cut into Samsung’s massive market share, there may be opportunity in drilling home that their feature sets are not just fun, but also functional. Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research, a research and advisory firm focusing on consumer technology adoption. He shares commentary at Techspressive and on Twitter at @rossrubin.
For app developers and bloggers, it’s very instructive to have an idea of what has changed in the user interface of an app. App developers can look back and see how both the “look and feel” and steps required to perform a workflow have changed, while bloggers and other writers can use the information to update books or write posts about upgrades. Fortunately for both parties, there’s a website called UX Archive run by two French developers (one of whom has moved to the Bay Area) and an American that plans to be an online museum of sorts, exhibiting the changes in app user interfaces and workflows over time.The site neatly divides the screenshots by app and task, so you can narrow down a search to just one particular task — like creating, deleting, recording, sharing or uploading — in one specific app. While there aren’t a tremendous number of apps and versions currently archived (I counted 60 apps, with only a few showing the changes between iOS 6 and iOS 7 versions of those apps), it’s a good start and UX Archive will be a helpful tool in the future provided the curators keep up with the updates.If you sign up for a free email list, UX Archive will ping you when a new workflow is added to the site.
When I first learned I’d be jetting off to meet with Phosphor Games for a first look at its upcoming title Nether, I must admit I wasn’t enthusiastic. I expected to see just another zombie-esque first-person shooter in a genre already overstuffed with shotguns and undead targets. But now that I’ve seen the demo in person, I might just have changed my mind. It’s not really an MMO, not with 64 people on a map, but it’s certainly skirting the boundaries; I’d consider it a happy marriage between Left 4 Dead and DayZ, so it’s certainly the type of game fans of post-apocalyptic survival pseudo-MMOs will want to watch.The game’s backstory features a near-future world, about a decade after a major mutation event called “the Cull” in the game’s lore. Thanks to the Cull, the majority of the population transformed into zombies violent mutated humanoid creatures. I guess there’s an attempt to avoid the classic zombie trope in Nether, but who’s fooled, really? Gallery: Nether Gallery | 10 Photos 10 +6 The game world is a large, misty, gloomy urban setting with partially wrecked buildings, debris, smoke, disabled vehicles, and very limited resources. There is a great deal of vertical travel available, so players will be able to scale buildings for the amazing views and great sniping spots, but getting there quietly without attracting a hostile will be a challenging task.Why? Well, while the not-zombie zombies are semi-blind, they do have exceptional hearing and the ability to teleport to the source of any sound within their hearing range. Even single creatures are exceptionally tough for a solo player to kill, meaning that multiplayer cooperation is essentially a requirement for survival. And since loud sounds will attract hostiles, stealth and silence are necessary elements as well.Although there was just one type of enemy creature shown in my demo, there will be three categories of hostiles in the launch version of the game: Hunters, Hulks, and Shriekers. The demo offered only the example of a Hunter, but Phosphor explained that the Shrieker is a scout that will call in additional hostiles from a wide radius. The Hulk, on the other hand, is a slower-moving but heavy-hitting creature. Apparently a small number of the post-Cull population also devolved into shambling, non-aggressive, optionally attackable and lootable creatures; Phosphor plans to consider how to develop these neutrals based on community feedback. Finally, an even smaller portion of the population remains unaffected by the mutation and is struggling to survive in this otherwise hostile environment: That’d be you, the players of Nether, and you might not get along with your fellow survivors.So far, I admit, this all sounds familiar and perhaps a little ho-hum, but during my demo, the multiplayer gameplay and quality of the Unreal 3 engine graphics provided a realistic, ominous environment with smooth and fluid player movement. The UI and mechanics are downright primitive compared to other FPS titles, but somehow that just adds to the realism and the suspense. For example, while there is in-game voice chat, there’s no team health-o-meter, no endless streams of combat hit-point values or “critical” flags, no destructible structures, no auto-targeting or ranging, no overhead map, and no ignoring friendly-fire. All the player has is a weapon, a compass, and a health-state readout.About that weapon: Ranged weapon use seemed very realistic with a mixture of basic aiming-sights and a notable amount of recoil following each shot. The weapons currently available are limited to mostly simple melee items, but eventually pistols, shotguns, and automatic rifles round out the player arsenal. These weapons, along with ammo, gear, and medpacks, are acquired from loot caches and monster loot drops but can be traded in-game to other players.The game doesn’t offer strict classes, but player stats can be improved via leveling, and the progression of certain traits will tend to dictate weapons and a preferred style of play. For example, a quick, stealthy, rifle-proficient, hunger-tolerant individual would make a great sniper, whereas a beefy, powerful, fast individual with a penchant for handheld weapons would be more useful as survivable bait whom his sniper buddy can cover. To satisfy PvE players, Phosphor’s ensured there are loot caches, mission objectives, major loot zones (marked by smoke), and in-game story elements. Explicit separation of PvP and PvE may be adjusted depending on community feedback.And since the game does feature PvP, you know command, control, and situational awareness will be of primary importance. Use of the in-game voice chat I mentioned earlier will make or break players’ survival, and you’d better choose your PvP battles wisely, as making a noise — even shooting at another player — may attract hostile NPCs if you do not keep moving. Death in the game can be significant; when you die, all your carried gear and loot drops with your body, so having trusted buddies around to protect and retrieve your equipment is critical. If you’re wondering just how brutal this PvP will be, let me describe a tactic suggested to me by members of the dev team itself: Just follow an enemy player around and wait until he’s beset by hostiles, then cheaply take him down and snag his gear. I suppose it’s lucrative for the victor! Players who just want a break from all that carnage can retreat to the designated “safe zone,” which provides a place for safe trading or stashing loot and equipment.Admittedly, many of these more hardcore features might not appeal to everyone, which is why Phosphor plans to let the game evolve and be guided by community feedback as it progresses through beta this fall. Currently, the studio is considering more weapon types, missions, PvP-only servers, additional map areas, crafting, custom servers, and management tools. Vehicles like motorcycles and helicopters have also made the player wish-list, though Phosphor’s reps told me that should helicopters make it into the game, they might have some unintended consequences, like stranding their occupants on rooftops and leaving them with no recourse but to leap to their deaths to continue.I was told the system requirements are considered relatively light and that the game should run on any recent dual-core PC or laptop platform, though as you might expect, the better the machine, the better the results. Still, my demo was running on what was described as a medium resolution, and it was quite impressive all the same.Following the beta and early access release later this year, the game will hit Steam, accompanied by the usual gamification trophy salad of achievements. How much will you be paying to kill not-zombies and not-friends in Nether? There’s no official price yet, but my suggestion in the $20-to-$40 range got a nod of agreement from the devs.Massively’s not big on scored reviews — what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That’s why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn’t our opinions?
Hyperloop project sounded almost too good to be true. Dr. Marco Villa, former director of mission operations at SpaceX, was among those who didn’t get the memo from the naysayers, as he’s just joined a team set on elevating Hyperloop from fantasy to reality. The crowd-sourced startup platform JumpStartFund enabled the group’s formation after the Hyperloop plans were posted there in August; since then, a handful of talented individuals, led by Villa, received permission from Musk to work on developing the project. Joining Villa on the mission to make your high-speed travel dreams a reality is Dr. Patricia Galloway, who once served as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (and was, notably, the first woman to hold that title). While the rail line is still a long way away from fruition, Villa seems optimistic, stating, “There does not seem to be any technical issues on this project that we can’t solve, even if we do not know right away, we will figure it out.” Show full PR textJumpStartFund Reaches Agreement With Top American Engineers To Develop Elon Musk’s Hyperloop ProjectDr. Marco Villa and Dr. Patricia Galloway to Lead and Manage the JumpStartFund Community and Help Make Futuristic Mode of Transportation a RealityJumpStartFund Community Members Can Apply to Work Fulltime on the Hyperloop Project in Exchange for EquitySeptember 26, 2013 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight TimeEL SEGUNDO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–JumpStartFund, a crowd-powered startup, today announced that Dr. Marco Villa, former director of mission operations, SpaceX, and Dr. Patricia Galloway, first woman President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), will lead and manage the Hyperloop project, an Elon Musk concept that was posted on its crowd-powered portal in August 2013. Equally, JumpStartFund is now accepting applications through its platform (apply in the “Participate” section) from JumpStartFund members who wish to work fulltime on the project in exchange for equity.”I believe this project will revolutionize how transportation will be viewed for future travel to and from major cities similar to the way the Concorde almost changed air travel”After its initial posting on JumpStartFund, and after 28 days of voting, commenting and vetting by the JumpStartFund community, a new company will be created to bring the Hyperloop project to life. The Villa/Galloway duo will be calling on JumpStartFund members to participate in different advisory groups to collaborate on every aspect of moving the Hyperloop concept forward – from design and feasibility, to solving technical challenges and creating a team surrounding its development.”There does not seem to be any technical issues on this project that we can’t solve, even if we do not know right away, we will figure it out,” said Dr. Marco Villa. “Hyperloop is a very complex system and we look forward to receiving input and support from all the brilliant minds out there in the JumpStartFund community to make this a true open source development.””I believe this project will revolutionize how transportation will be viewed for future travel to and from major cities similar to the way the Concorde almost changed air travel,” said Dr. Patricia Galloway. “What is different today is the opportunities that crowdsourcing and crowdfunding offers in getting dreams and innovations off the ground to allow the ‘Concordes’ of the future become reality today.””A lot of people talk about why this project will never work and how difficult it is to realize,” said Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and co-founder of JumpStartFund. “We are honored to have Dr. Villa and Dr. Galloway on board to lead our community, and their involvement goes a long way to proving that our platform’s processes, along with our community, can actually bring mega projects to life, such as Hyperloop.”About Dr. Marco VillaIn 2007, Marco joined Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he rose to the position of Director of Mission Operations, with responsibilities over the selection and training of operators, ground segment architecture, mission planning, and the final integration, on-orbit operations and recovery of the Dragon spacecraft. Dr. Villa was integral in the effort to successfully execute $2.5B in contracts for ISS cargo resupply and crewed Dragon development programs.. A certified Mission Director for Dragon missions to the International Space Station, Dr. Villa has been part of multiple successful missions, including lead roles over ISS approach and departure. Before leaving SpaceX in 2013, Dr. Villa was part of the on-going effort to develop the crewed version of the Dragon capsule, with responsibilities ranging from the definition of the overall concept of operations, to the establishment of the crew training methodology. Currently Dr. Villa is a business development consultant and co-founder of mv2space LLC, and is also Vice President for Products Development at Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC. For more on info on Dr. Villa, see www.linkedin.com/pub/marco-villa/2/65a/6b8.About Dr. Patricia D. GallowayDr. Patricia D. Galloway serves as an advisor to the energy and infrastructure industries regarding corporate governance, risk management, contracting/delivery, industry best practices, and program/project on complex megaprojects worldwide. She served as a member of the U.S. National Science Board, appointed by President Bush with Senate confirmation in 2006 for a six-year term, and served as its Vice Chair from 2008-2010. She is a mediator and an international arbitrator and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). She is also the Chair of the AAA National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee. With over 35 years of experience globally, she is a Registered Professional Engineer in 14 US States, Manitoba, Canada and Australia. Dr. Galloway is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a Chartered Surveyor by the Royal Academy of Chartered Surveyors in the UK and holds a certificate of Director Education by the National Association of Corporate Directors and has serves on a number of private and non-profit boards. For more info on Dr. Galloway, see www.linkedin.com/pub/pat-galloway/12/248/998.
The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.I accidentally made everyone in the comments not ask any questions yesterday, so here’s a short and debatably sweet Queue.dumbass asked:Did Blizzard change their armor designers in 5.4 or something? I mean, I know it’s very subjective, but I usually don’t like the pvp sets very much (especially the warrior ones). 5.4 PvP gear for every single class I’ve seen so far looks absolutely amazing!While some vanilla armor sets were done by different people (tier 2 was all Samwise, for example), I think pretty much every armor set nowadays is designed or at least concepted by Mark Gibbons, as seen in the artbooks. FuzzyBunny61 asked:With the update to character models, will we need higher comp requirements? Will graphics’ requirements rise?The average computational power necessary to run WoW will increase, but it’s hard to say by how much and how often; in a raid where everyone is using an updated model, you might have more trouble on an old computer, but questing in a zone where no or very few new models are present, you wouldn’t notice a difference at all.AeroCross asked:Well… if no mobs / NPC’s are updated [when new player race models hit], and just the playable races… that will suck a bit too much :/NPCs and mobs will be updated if they share a model with player races. So human, orc, tauren, etc. NPCs will get makeovers too. Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer ’em!
teasing a fanless tablet back in June, the company has formally announced the Spectre 13 x2, which isn’t actually a tablet so much as a hybrid laptop. Additionally, HP unveiled a special edition version of its Envy 17 notebook with a Leap Motion controller built into the palm rest.Starting with the Leap Motion machine, this is truly the same Envy 17 that’s already on the market, complete with an aluminum chassis, backlit keyboard and generous Beats branding. Except, you know, it has a conspicuous motion sensor below the keyboard, allowing you to control games and other apps using hand gestures. Per Leap Motion’s requirements, HP includes a shortcut to Leap Motion’s Airspace Store, where there are currently 100-plus apps and counting. (If you read our review, you know the selection is hit or miss.) Once you calibrate the sensor, you can turn the controller off by pressing the spacebar plus the Fn key; a small LED indicator will light up to let you know when it’s on. Surprisingly, too, that the sensor doesn’t add to the thickness of the laptop, as the module only measures 3.5mm thick (granted, a 17-inch machine probably has plenty of leeway inside the chassis). Look for it October 16th, with a starting price of $1,049.99 and your choice of Intel processors and NVIDIA graphics. Gallery: HP Envy 17 Leap Motion Edition hands-on | 5 Photos 5 +1 As for that fanless “tablet,” the Spectre 13 x2 is a 13-inch slate with a 1080p display and a keyboard dock. It’s a form factor you know well by now, except you’re not used to seeing such a big-screen device without any vents cluttering up the back side. What’s interesting is that this was ever billed as a tablet to begin with: at around 4.5 pounds with the dock it feels heavy in the hand, and is quite a bit heavier than your typical 13-inch Ultrabook. (On the plus side, the cold, aluminum chassis here has a luxurious, expensive feel to it.)Like any premium Ultrabook, however, you get a 1080p screen, four to eight gigs of RAM and, of course, a Haswell processor (Core i3 or i5). Storage ranges from 64GB to 128GB, and can be found in the tablet only (read: there’s no secondary drive in the dock). And, given that this is a Haswell system, battery life is also supposed to be very good — HP rates it at up to 7.5 hours. As for how cool and quiet a fanless Haswell system runs, we’ll have to revisit that in our eventual review. Look for the x2 to ship on October 16th, priced at $1,099.99 and up. Gallery: HP Spectre 13 x2 hands-on | 14 Photos 14 +10 But wait, there’s more! HP also announced a regular Ultrabook, the Spectre 13, which replaces last year’s Spectre XT. As the latest in the line, it’s the thinnest and lightest, weighing in at 3.25 pounds and measuring 13.4mm (0.53 inch) thick. Additionally, HP decided to play with the color scheme this time, opting for a brown lid and champagne interior. Fun fact there: HP says that rather than use black or silver paint, it went with colors inspired by other luxury items. We’re guessing they mean cars. That or handbags. At any rate, it’s a good-looking machine, and the aluminum lends it a sturdy feel, though we’d be remiss not to point out that there are even lighter 13-inch Ultrabooks out there.Also, take a look at our hands-on pics and you’ll notice this guy has an extra-wide trackpad, and a weirdly shaped one too. Along either side of the pad, you’ll see what HP calls “Control Zones” where you can make the usual Windows 8 gestures (swiping in from the right to expose the Charms Bar) and enjoy some tactile feedback. If you stick to the center of the pad, though, you don’t have to worry about accidentally opening up the Charms Bar of swiping through to another open program. Granted, that’s true of any trackpad, except here, the zones are more obvious.Under the hood, the Spectre 13 has pretty much all the components you’d expect in a high-end Ultrabook: Haswell Core i5 / i7 processors, a nine-hour battery and up to 512GB of solid-state storage. HP didn’t skimp on the display either: the base option is a 1080p panel, but a 2,560 x 1,440 screen will also be available. This, too, will ship on October 16th, with prices starting at $999.99. Gallery: HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook hands-on | 7 Photos 7 +3 Lastly (we’re almost done here), HP announced the Pavilion 13 x2, a 13-inch laptop / tablet hybrid with either a Haswell processor or a quad-core AMD A6 chip. That’ll hit on November 17th, priced at $599.99 and up.
Apple iPhone 5s hands-onToday, at Apple’s ‘Special Event,’ the company revealed its iPhone 5s. As rumored, the 5s features a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, updated internals including an A7 core, an M7 motion-sensing chip, and a new camera with slow-motion video plus burst shooting. The smartphone will be available September 20th starting at $199. Want to hear more about the new, champagne-colored phone? Click through for our full first impressions.Apple iPhone 5c hands-onAlong with a new flagship phone, today, Apple also revealed its cheaper model, now officially dubbed the iPhone 5c. The device — not a particularly well kept secret — comes in five plastic colors starting at $99 with a two year contract, and will start shipping on September 20th. The iPhone 5c shares much in common with the original iPhone 5, a 4-inch Retina Display, A6 processor, LTE, 8MP camera and more. Read on for our full hands-on and a video demo.iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor called Touch ID: here’s how it works and what it doesApple took the consumer world by storm today, announcing not one, but two new iPhones: a cheaper 5c model and a flagship phone appropriately titled the 5s. One feature that belongs only to the 5s is the redesigned Home button, which is complete with a fingerprint scanner. Using the new technology, or as Apple calls it, Touch ID, users can authorize purchases in iTunes, the App Store, or in iBooks by simply using their thumbprint (starting in iOS 7, of course). Pretty neat / scary! Click above for more.Visualized: Inside the Moto X factoryMotorola’s new Moto X packs a good number of useful features, and tweaks, but one detail stands out among the rest. The Moto X is made — from start to finish — in a 455,000 square-foot factory in Fort Worth, Texas that formerly manufactured devices for Nokia. We’ll have more to come from our big Texas excursion, but for now head on up to see a gallery full of pictures from the tour.You also might like:Cota by Ossia hopes to charge your phone wirelessly, no contact requirediOS 7 arrives on Apple devices September 18thBMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show, headed to US next spring for $135,925 and up