When Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson were let go from Valve back in February, they didn’t want to give up on the top-secret augmented reality project they had worked so hard on during their time as employees. So they obtained permission to carry on with it, formed a company called Technical Illusions, and went to work to create what they would eventually call castAR. Months later, at Maker Faire 2013, they revealed the projected augmented-reality system to the world. Comprising a pair of active shutter glasses, a couple of micro projectors, a camera module and a retroreflective surface studded with infrared LEDs, castAR certainly made an impressive debut. Yet, it was still just an early prototype weighed down by heavy glass elements and solid circuit boards.Today, however, the team is finally ready to reveal the final product in its official Kickstarter launch. Not only is the design much lighter than what we saw in May, but it now has a very intriguing clip-on attachment that can essentially transform the castAR glasses into either true AR glasses that provide augmented reality without the retroreflective surface, or full virtual reality eyewear if you want a completely immersive experience like with the Oculus Rift. This essentially turns castAR into a three-in-one headset, and all in a relatively slim package. As castAR claims on its Kickstarter page, “you will have no need for any other head mounted display.” Join us after the break for a rundown of the campaign, some insights from Ellsworth and Johnson and a preview of the device itself. To jog your memory on how castAR’s projected augmented reality works, the active shutter glasses are equipped with two tiny LCD projectors that casts stereoscopic 3D images onto a retroreflective surface at a 120Hz refresh rate, that are in turn bounced back to your eyes. There’s a small camera module sitting atop the eyewear’s bridge that scans for infrared LED markers on the aforementioned surface so that the software can track the position of your head and adjust the images appropriately. The glasses use a HDMI connection to get video, while the camera is connected via USB. Johnson says that communicating with mobile devices is certainly a possibility in the future, but they haven’t yet worked out the specifics just yet.Ellsworth informs us that they were able to slim down the final castAR glasses considerably by replacing the solid glass elements on the prototype with lightweight plastic films. The solid circuit board is replaced with thin flex circuits, which should reduce the weight of the overall product to under 100 grams (around a quarter pound). To lower power consumption, the FPGA chip on the prototype will also be replaced by a less power hungry ASIC chip. More importantly to the consumer, all final castAR glasses will have full 720p resolution, which is significantly higher than the one that was demoed at Maker Faire. Those with poor eyesight need not worry either, as they are designed to fit over existing prescription eyewear.However, castAR doesn’t just offer the glasses, the clip-ons and the retroreflective surface. There’s also a controller called the Magic Wand, which we first saw at the Maker Faire demo. The wand has an infrared marker at its tip, and can be used as either a joystick or a 3D input device. The final version will have buttons, a trigger and a thumb stick for additional controls. As you can see in the demo video below, the wand can be used for striking down virtual objects or moving things around in space.If video games aren’t really your thing, then castAR also offers an RFID tracking grid for those of you who love board games. Simply set it underneath the surface, attach special RFID bases to existing miniatures, and with a few tweaks, you can set up your very own virtual Dungeons & Dragons board. Indeed, you can configure the software to display stats and health bars above each character. There’s also a special RFID Precision base for those who want two-way communications instead of just RFID tracking. For example, Johnson tells us it’s possible to set up a smoke generator and red LEDs around a big dragon type figurine and have it blow “fire” across the characters on the board. This isn’t just good for face-to-face gaming either; Johnson envisions that with the internet, you’d be able to play virtual Dungeons & Dragon this way with your friends across the world. Of course, the RFID tracking grid can be used for other purposes too, but virtual D&D is certainly one way to get into a geek’s heart.So just what are Ellsworth and co. promising should you pledge to the Kickstarter (and it raises more than its $400K goal)? Well, if you’re a developer, you’ll get access to the Software Development Kit, Unity integration and several demo games to get your feet wet. Some of them include a real-time strategy war type game, a casual card game, a few physics games that are Jenga-like and a D&D level builder. Ellsworth tells us they’re already in talks with several VR game makers, so it appears that existing VR games can be easily configured to work with castAR as well. “Our tracking system API will hook up to Oculus-style games very easily, but developers will have to do a little work to make it happen — for example, it takes about five minutes to put head tracking into a game built in the Unity game engine.”If you just want to get your hands on the hardware, there are several options to choose from. If you’re interested in just the Magic Wand, the camera, or the RFID grid, you can get them for $60, $75 or $85 each. The basic starter package that includes the castAR glasses, the tracking camera plus a one meter by one meter surface will set you back $189. The $285 pro package has many of the same components except it has a two meter by one meter surface instead and it also includes the Magic Wand and the true AR/VR clip-on attachment. A package that includes the RFID grid is $355. Two-player and four-player setups are $395 and $745 respectively. There are more payment tiers for additional prizes, including a hand-built prototype for around $10,000. (By contrast, an Oculus Rift dev kit costs around $300.)Ellsworth wanted us to know that the making of the Kickstarter video itself was a journey. “One of the things we’re very proud about is that every visual of gameplay was done with our hardware. There’s no CG or other kinds of trickery happening.” She told us that they mounted the projector on the glasses as close as they could to the camera lens, and that the camera operator was “a little grumpy” with them because he couldn’t see the projections as he was filming.”This whole project has been driven by just Jeri and myself,” said Johnson. “We worked every day of this year, five to six days, 14 to 16 hour days. Our resources between the two of us are stretched thin.” However, the two believe they have something special, and that the future is bright for the technology. “It was such a magical project [at Valve],” said Ellsworth. “We just couldn’t let it die. It’s so magical. There’s nothing out there like this.” If you want to learn more about castAR, have a peek at the demo video above or hit the source to see if it’s worth pledging.
Today marks the debut of Carnivores HD, a new entry in the long-running hunting franchise from developer Vogster Enertainment, which trades relatively harmless wildlife like bears and lions for something a bit more impressive: Dinosaurs.”You’ll be hunting Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Ceratosaurus, and finally a T-Rex,” writes project lead Artem Kuryavchenko on the PlayStation.blog. “There are also flying Pteranodons, and small and peaceful Gallimimuses. Each level is an island about two square miles in size, and features a unique environment. There are deserts and jungles, volcanic islands, and deep forests. Each level comes in three flavors: daytime, evening, and misty.”Kuryavchenko also claims that the wildlife found in Carnivores HD features AI which allows it to behave as it may have in the primordial wilds. Dinosaurs can use both sight and smell to track players and one another (predatory dinos have a tendency to eat non-predatory dinos), and wounded animals will react in fear to the player’s presence. Hunters are outfitted with a rifle, a sniper rifle and a crossbow, and are given the option of using either lethal rounds or tranquilizer darts as the mood strikes them.Carnivores HD appears on the PlayStation Network Store as of today.
Activision has hired a prominent lobbying group, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, to advocate on a Senate bill aimed at researching the impact of “violent” video games and programming on children. The lobbying registration form doesn’t indicate Activision’s position on the bill.The bill, S. 134: Violent Content Research Act, aims to have the National Academy of Sciences “study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children.” The study would investigate whether there is a link between violent video games or programming and aggressive behavior.Singular to video games, it would study “whether current or emerging characteristics of video games have a unique impact on children, considering in particular video games’ interactive nature and the extraordinarily personal and vivid way violence might be portrayed in such video games.”This is a separate effort from President Barack Obama’s executive order that the CDC research the causes of gun violence, with a specific mandate to study video games.The Violent Content Research Act was sent to the full Senate on July 30 and has yet to be raised for vote.
retailer’s leak, Archos has announced the GamePad 2. As hinted earlier, the second-generation gaming tablet is a big improvement over the original. The 7-inch slate is now better-suited to modern games through its sharper 1,280 x 800 IPS display, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 chip and 2GB of RAM. Archos has also improved the control responsiveness, upgraded to Android 4.2 and stuffed in a bigger battery for extended play sessions. The GamePad 2 reaches Europe by the end of October for €180 ($243), and will be available in the US sometime during the fourth quarter for $200. Show full PR textARCHOS GamePad 2 AnnouncedA hybrid tablet made for gamers; the GamePad 2 features a faster Quad-Core CPU, a 7″ IPS HD screen and the proprietary ARCHOS Game Mapping ToolLondon, October 9th, 2013 – ARCHOS, a pioneer in Android™ devices, is proud to announce its second generation tablet made for Gamers – the ARCHOS GamePad 2 available in Europe at the end of October at £179.99.”Following the success of the GamePad 1, we knew that we could take the gaming-tablet concept further. With our GamePad 2 we have included an HD screen, better controls, a larger battery and a faster processor,” said Loic Poirier ARCHOS CEO, “We’re excited to be working with a leading games company like Gameloft to pre-install two visually stunning titles for an amazing gaming experience.”The ARCHOS GamePad 2 includes complete versions of Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour by Gameloft both revisited for physical controls. “With a tablet that’s as innovative as the ARCHOS GamePad 2, it was an easy decision to optimise our games for the platform,” said Cyril Guilleminot, Gameloft Director for France & Benelux. “Users will be able to take part in a brand new gaming experience with its integrated physical control system.”Made for GamingHD IPS ScreenThe ARCHOS GamePad 2 features a 7 inch HD screen perfect for gaming. The widescreen 1280 x 800 pixel resolution gives an amazing gaming and multimedia experience and IPS technology ensures amazing colours and brightness as well as perfect viewing anglesPowerful Processor, Larger BatteryPowered by an A9 generation quad-core processor running at 1.6GHz coupled with a fast Quad-Core graphics processor and 2GB of system RAM, the ARCHOS GamePad 2 has more than enough power to play the latest 3D games smoothly.Thanks to super energy-efficient 28 nanometer processor technology and a much larger battery than normally used on a 7 inch tablet, the ARCHOS GamePad 2 has vastly improved battery life whether in gaming or simply when browsing the web.Improved Thumb-Sticks, Buttons and Mapping ToolThe ARCHOS GamePad 2 features more precise, incurved dual thumb-sticks, double buttons on each shoulder, a single part directional pad and a vastly improved button click-feeling for a better physical gaming experience.Combined with the updated version of the critically praised Game Mapping Tool, first featured on the GamePad 1, that lets users map any touch-screen button game to work with the physical controls, the ARCHOS GamePad 2 offers an improved android gaming experience for hundreds of thousands of free and paid games.The ARCHOS GameZone – find the best gamesTo find great games faster, ARCHOS created the GamePad Game Zone application; curating over 1 million apps and games in the Google Play™ Store, the Game Zone shows off the best ARCHOS GamePad 2 compatible games.With downloads, purchases, ratings, comments and game updates all taking place through the Google Play™ Store, users can get the best from the huge games catalogue available for the ARCHOS GamePad 2.Storage for GamesThe ARCHOS GamePad 2 is available in two storage sizes – 8GB and 16GB. Both versions include a microSD slot (64GB compatible) with app2sd support for extra storage.Still a powerful Android TabletThough the ARCHOS GamePad 2 was designed with gaming in mind, it’s still a fully functional Android tablet able to do everything that you expect from a tablet… and more, thanks to ARCHOS media applications. Additional key features and specs include:· Android 4.2™ ‘Jelly Bean’· Google Certified with full access to the Google Play store and its 1 million apps and games, GamePad Game Zone app also included to find the best games· Amazing Tablet Features: WiFi Display, HDMI, front stereo speakers, Front camera for video calling and an improved multi-media thanks to Archos Media Center applicationsThe ARCHOS GamePad 2 will be available at the end of October at €179.99 on www.ARCHOS.com.
Lenovo subsidiary Medion already produces smartphones, but normally these units are the ones you’ll find clogging up the very bottom of the bargain basement. With the X-Series, however, the company is raising its ambitions to the middle, more legitimate tiers of the market. The first model is tentatively titled the “X4701,” but we’ve been reassured that a catchier name is currently being cooked up by Medion’s corporate minds. Still, for now, that’s the name we’ll stick with.The 4.7-inch smartphone is packing a 1,280 x 720 display alongside a 1.2GHz Tegra 3 chipset with 1GB RAM, which should be enough to run the stock build of Android 4.2 that it’ll ship with. On the storage front, while there’s only 8GB on board, the company has thoughtfully thrown in an 8GB microSD card to double your storage before you begin. Speaking of things included in the box, the device ships with a black matte plastic rear cover, but users will also find a white version tucked somewhere beneath the manual and charger. Connectivity-wise, there’s 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and HSDPA+ modems — decent enough for those who aren’t too fussed about buying a plan with LTE. There’s no word on when the retitled device will arrive, or which nations it’ll be pitched to, but the company has pledged that it’ll cost no more than €199 — a promise it should think very hard about breaking. Gallery: Medion X4701 hands-on | 12 Photos 12 +8 Gallery: Medion X-Series smartphone press images | 4 Photos 4 +1 Dana Wollman contributed to this report.Follow all of our IFA 2013 coverage by heading to our event hub!
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy. BlackBerry Z30 reviewIt’s not the best time for BlackBerry right now. Between layoffs and quarterly loses, the company is certainly going through a rough patch. The Z30 — BlackBerry’s latest attempt at turning things around — features a 5-inch Super AMOLED display (making it the biggest BB10 device yet), along with 2GB of RAM and a CPU clocked at 1.7GHz. The phone is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but buggy software, a poor camera and an expensive price tag keep it off of our must-buy list. Read on for more.See the Steam Controller in action right hereWe’ve already seen Valve’s Steam Controller in stills, but today we got the chance to watch the new device in action. The video above demos a number of games, including Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The former of those two titles employees the controller’s dual touchpads as thumbsticks which looks to be a bit cumbersome. In the other game we saw the controller’s ability for precision, but ultimately we’d like to get a better idea of using the controller in a more rigorous match. Click the link above for more details and a hands-on video.If you use Google services, you could become an ad next monthPrivacy in this day and age is becoming a topic of increasing contention, and Google’s latest batch of fine print is certain to cause many users to bristle. In an updated Terms of Service agreement today, users’ profiles will start showing up in ads across the web — based on reviews, comments, +1s and follows you make through the company’s services. We know what you’re thinking: you want out. Luckily Google has provided such an option with the ability to opt-out. These changes are set to go live on November 11th, so head on over to that new agreement and do what you will. Head up for more.Here’s the retail packaging for PlayStation 4Anxious to get your hands on the new PlayStation 4? Sony’s trying to make the wait easier (or harder) for you by releasing a gallery of pictures showing the console’s box and packaging. As you probably guessed the box is blue and white, while the DualShock 4 comes in classic black, “Wave Blue” and “Magma Red.” For more details and pictures click the link above.You also might like:Samsung is not buying a fingerprint scanning company, ‘completely false’ release distributed (updated)Extended range BMW i3 to cost $45,300, will drive twice as farNokia Lumia 2520 tablet gets leaked in cyan
A number of players are experiencing a sudden loss of characters, apartments, in-game money, rank and more when playing GTA Online. Rockstar is currently identifying the issue and looking to recover players’ lost data, if possible.One culprit has to do with Rockstar Cloud Services: Rockstar does not suggest playing GTA Online when Cloud Services are inaccessible. When the Cloud is down, players have the opportunity to continue playing with a temporary character, albeit without the ability to save. In this scenario players cannot access their saved characters, and any progress made with the temporary character will not be retained.Rockstar says another problem has to do with the “Retry” button. When prompted to retry to enter a GTA Online match when the Cloud is down, some players have had all of their data wiped. Rockstar says reverting back to Grand Theft Auto 5’s single-player campaign, then jumping back into GTA Online from there, should yield better results.Rockstar says it’s “in the process of determining the options for addressing the issues” and will continue to post updates.
artificially inflate benchmark results.We noticed an odd thing while testing the Samsung Galaxy Note 3: it scores really, really well in benchmark tests — puzzlingly well, in fact. A quick comparison of its scores to the similarly specced LG G2 makes it clear that something fishy is going on, because Samsung’s 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 blows the doors off LG’s 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800. What makes one Snapdragon so different from the other?After a good bit of sleuthing, we can confidently say that Samsung appears to be artificially boosting the US Note 3’s benchmark scores with a special, high-power CPU mode that kicks in when the device runs a large number of popular benchmarking apps. Samsung did something similar with the international Galaxy S 4’s GPU, but this is the first time we’ve seen the boost on a US device.In the wake of that report, Anandtech found that playing fast and loose with benchmarks is commonplace in the smartphone market, especially amongst Android devices. Indeed, Anandtech found that nearly every OEM engages in similar shenanigans, with Apple and Motorola being the only two exceptions.
I was passing out Massively t-shirts at a fan event a few year back when an arguably large man told the crowd that he probably shouldn’t be wearing a shirt with the word “massive” on it. We all got a chuckle, but I don’t think I would have defined him as massive before he made that comment.We asked for your opinions on the definition of the word “massive” as it pertains to massively multiplayer games, and the answers were both interesting and varied. So I thought it’d be a good idea to see what the Massively staff thinks of that debatable word. Follow along after the jump to see what we call massive. I think this is a much simpler formula than it sounds — sort of. A “real” MMO is defined by a good number of people (enough to make a large neighborhood, but that’s up for debate) interacting and leaving a lasting imprint on a virtual world. People get hung up on the world needing to be three-dimensional, but that’s short-sighted and leaves out the MMORTS, for example — games that have multiple layers of interaction and world impact.A semi-MMO or pseudo-MMO (or whatever you want to call it) has the same interactions and world impact but has smaller groups. Die2Nite is a favorite example. The player cities in that game host only 40 players at their largest, but each player can leave such a lasting impact on the (smaller) world that it’s worth a look.Non-MMOs are games that offer either play like instanced combat (MOBAs) or social games that offer interaction but with NPC-like versions of your friends. The players who enjoy games like this don’t care about the definition because they are also on Twitter, another monitor, or a tablet (just examples) while they enjoy these games. Massive hasn’t been redefined, but the players who care about massive worlds have declined thanks to the always-on nature of our lives that we can enjoy now.To me the term massive is about how big the game feels population-wise rather than how many people are actually around. Most of the old-school MMOs that folks would consider “true” massively multiplayer games were usually instanced, sharded, or otherwise terribly limited in terms of the numbers of players you could interact with, anyway — who didn’t love being vortexed out of a city battle on Asheron’s Call’s Darktide because it had too many players for the game to handle, am I right?Ultimately, I think the economy and the roleplay/PvP meta are the key to making both modern and classic MMOs feel massive. Even a lobby-based MMO like Guild Wars 1 feels massive compared to more themepark offerings that have lots of bodies but provide little motivation or method for them to connect. A game that lets me trade, roleplay, PvP, and otherwise interact with people on the other side of the world simply feels more massive than a huge game with loads of people but empty zones and no reason to interact with anyone.There’s a lot of ways that you could define massive: by a number threshold (“1000 people on a server”), how many people you can encounter and group with in your game world on a daily basis, concurrency numbers, the size of the world, any systems that connect us to a large number of people (i.e., economy, crafting, chatting), and so on. But for me, it’s kind of a much more subjective feeling. Some MMOs feel massive and some don’t, and sometimes that has little to do with the actual numbers around me. I mean, I could be playing a game with a million people, but if most of them are in endgame zones and I’m all alone in the beginning zone, it won’t feel massive. Sometimes just the larger community surrounding the game can make an impact in making it feel massive.I’ll put a footnote here that “massive” does not always equal good. Sometimes intimate is better. Sometimes smaller, more passionate, and more friendly communities can make for more enjoyable gameplay.I’m not big on number restrictions, so I’d call “massive” anything that feels massive. This usually means a persistent world with other people running around. It means a world where you can run over and join your friends without worrying about what instance or server they’re on. It means a world with little or no restrictions on group play. I’m kinda tired of studios putting the “massive” label on games with four- or six-person team limits.I always thought of the term as being “maybe more than you can shake a stick at, but definitely more than can be played with in a typical console game.” While many console games have multiplayer functionality, they still aren’t created with the interactivity between dozens of players in the same universe. However, I see those lines blurring tremendously within the next decade. More console games will become what we currently define as massively multiplayer universes, especially with the increasing popularity of mobile connectivity. MMO developers will, and have already begun to, integrate tablets and phones as a means to access their games. Console manufactures/game designers are beginning to open their doors to allow more and more players to connect where there used to be limits of two-to-four players. And MMO developers are beginning to integrate single-player aspects (like crafting in Neverwinter or the Duty Officer system in Star Trek Online) into their traditionally MMO worlds.The business of gaming, like the greater entertainment industry it is a part of, is experiencing the first stages of a paradigm shift as the internet, and therefore the consumers’ ability to demand and access the content they want continues to express its influence on an expanding market.What do you get when you throw the Massively writers’ opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the carest of the carebears, so expect some disagreement! Join Senior Editor Shawn Schuster and the team for a new edition right here every other Thursday.
Uber, Waze or Google Maps, Any.DO’s Cal could be worth checking out. An update to the popular productivity outfit’s brainchild brings integration with the three aforementioned services, which means you can now call a cab via Uber without leaving Cal, so long as you’re in an area where the town cars roam. You’ll also be able to navigate your way using Waze and Google Maps without having to launch them. As a nice bonus, Any.DO is introducing a new gifting feature that lets you buy straight from Amazon or Gifts.com from within the app itself. Cal is still nowhere to be seen on Google Play, but iOS users can score the refreshed application at the source.Update (10/08/13): The folks at Any.DO have informed us that you can’t access Uber without leaving Cal after all. There’s actually an Uber link within the calendar that launches the request-a-ride app. The amended press release is attached after the break if you’d like to know more. Show full PR textCal By Any.do Simplifies Your Commute With Three New IntegrationsUber, Waze, and Google Maps Now Allow Users To Plan Their TravelMonday, Oct 7th 2013, 11:00AM PST, San Francisco – Cal, the intuitive and design-driven calendar app for iPhone, is taking another step in becoming the best calendar app for iOS 7 by announcing three new integrations that take the process out of users’ daily commutes.Integrations with Uber, Google Maps, and Waze, launching today, allow a user to get from point A to point B without the hassle of re-entering information. “It was imperative that it all feels very fluid. Typical calendar apps are just a repository of information. We wanted to bring the calendar to life by making it actionable and helping people do what they plan to do,” says founder and CEO Omer Perchik.Meetings, work commutes, coffee dates, birthday parties – Cal already knows where a user needs to be at any given time. With a single click, those static plans now become commutes toward a destination.A ride when you need itPowerful Uber integration let’s users get a ride when and where they need it, with the simplicity they’ve come to expect with Cal. (available in supported locations)Navigate your dayPre-filled, embedded Google Maps and Waze interfaces help users seamlessly check their plans and navigate to their destinations.Come bearing giftsAdditionally, a new gifting feature allows Cal users to purchase gifts through Amazon and Gifts.com without having to leave the app.The new features mark the next iteration for Any.do’s suite of life management apps, which aim to help people have better days without the usual friction of planning and scheduling. “A lot of productivity comes down to that ‘nudge’ that sets you in the right direction. These integrations lift the burden of planning and coordinating, and help you focus on the things that matter instead so you can tap into your daily flow and have a good day,” Perchik says.
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon commit to releasing the LG G2 this fall… but where’s Sprint’s version? Don’t worry, fans, the carrier hasn’t forgotten you. Sprint now says it will take pre-orders for the $200 Android flagship starting on October 11th, with a release “in time for the holidays.” In return for the wait, the provider is giving out free QuickWindow covers to everyone who pre-orders a G2 through its website. We doubt that the gift will quell the jealousy of Sprint customers whose friends get a G2 weeks in advance, but the more patient among those subscribers can register their interest at the source link. Show full PR textLG G2 Smartphone Coming to Sprint in Time for the Holidays; Pre-order Begins Oct. 11Lightning fast, amazing display, excellent battery life and high-quality photos – LG G2 excels at doing what matters most in a deviceSeptember 09, 2013 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight TimeOVERLAND PARK, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sprint (NYSE:S) and LG Electronics today announced the highly anticipated LG G2 smartphone will be available in time for the holidays with the benefit of Sprint’s unlimited 4G LTE data plans1. More information on the availability date will be given at a later time.”Continuing to raise the bar in Android innovation, we are thrilled to team up again with LG to bring another top-of-the-line device to our customers”LG G2 will be available for $199.99 with a new two-year service agreement or eligible upgrade (excluding taxes and surcharges). New and existing customers can pre-order LG G2 beginning Friday, Oct. 11, at www.sprint.com/lgg2. All consumers who take advantage of the online pre-order will receive a free Quick Window case ($49.99 value) with the G2 device.LG G2 smartphone customers who sign up for Sprint’s new Unlimited, My WaySM plan or My All-inSM plan are eligible for the Sprint Unlimited Guarantee. The Sprint Unlimited Guarantee gives customers unlimited talk (calls to any wireline or mobile phone), text and data while on the Sprint network for the life of the line of service2. The new Unlimited, My Way rate plans start for as little as $80 per month (excludes taxes and surcharges).”Continuing to raise the bar in Android innovation, we are thrilled to team up again with LG to bring another top-of-the-line device to our customers,” said David Owens, vice president-Product Management and Logistics, Sprint. “LG G2 brings everything together in a device with a comfortable, functional, convenient and beautiful design. With the multitude of Android apps available for download, LG G2 and Sprint’s new Unlimited Guarantee plans make an ideal pair for today’s multimedia, multitasking lifestyles.”The first U.S. smartphone to launch with the new Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 processor, LG G2 is remarkably thin and light and features a massive 5.2-inch, 1080p IPS LCD display. Along with a processor as powerful as those in many laptops, LG G2 provides features that maximize on-screen multitasking with the simultaneous use of multiple apps. LG G2 is also equipped with 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Fi playback that reproduces studio-like sound quality and a 13-megapixel Full HD camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), giving users the ability to capture crystal clear images while in motion.”In addition to an impressive lineup of smart features, LG G2’s innovative design makes it a stand-out device in the current mobile marketplace,” said James Fishler, senior vice president-Marketing, LG Electronics USA. “Equipped with a single rear key that controls multiple functions of the device and gives users a nearly edge-to-edge viewing experience on a 5.2-inch HD IPS display, LG G2 is the ultimate example of intelligent features meeting intuitive design.”LG G2 brings to users an unprecedented smartphone experience and helpful customization features such as:* KnockON – instead of hitting a power button, simply tap twice on the display to wake the G2 from its sleep. It’s a nice convenience that goes hand-in-hand with Answer Me, which automatically answers calls when you put the phone to your ear.* Slide Aside – allows users to do a three-finger gesture to “slide” open apps off the screen for multitasking.* Text Link – another interesting idea, where the phone takes relevant text and inserts embeddable links to them in other apps.* Guest Mode – also known as ‘Kid Mode,’ which allows another user to access the phone by drawing a different gesture on the lock screen with a secondary unlock pattern3.Sprint continues to bring a better wireless experience to more customers across the country as it builds out its all-new 3G and 4G LTE network and is projected to provide LTE to 200 million people by the end of 2013. For the most up-to-date details on Sprint 4G LTE, visit www.sprint.com/network. Customers are also encouraged to check www.sprint.com/coverage often because the maps are updated when coverage is expanded.
With the release of iOS 7, Apple introduced its first attempt at internet streaming radio with the aptly titled iTunes Radio. Now comes word via Bloomberg that the feature will soon be heading to a number of English-speaking countries, beginning with the UK and Canada before making its way to Australia and New Zealand.ITunes Radio is also set to start early next year in Australia and New Zealand, where Pandora already operates, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Nordic countries are also being targeted in the same time frame, the people said.Apple is moving faster than Pandora because it forged agreements for international rights with Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group and other record companies, said one of the people. Pandora, which doesn’t have such deals, relies on rights granted by government entities, limiting service to the US, Australia and New Zealand.The report relays that Apple is hoping to expand iTunes Radio beyond the United States by early 2014.While it makes sense for Apple to start small with English-speaking countries, Apple executive Eddy Cue recently said that Apple wants iTunes Radio to be a global entity.”One of our top priorities is to bring iTunes Radio obviously here in the UK, but everywhere in the world,” Cue explained in an interview last week. “We certainly want to be in more than 100 countries.”Cue noted that Apple is thus far “very pleased” with the rollout of iTunes Radio. Remember that Apple noted in a press release two weeks ago that over 11 million unique users had already given iTunes Radio a spin in the first few days the feature became available.As a final note, keep in mind that Bloomberg’s sources are anonymous and any rumors involving Apple should always be taken with a grain of salt, especially when they involve the often murky world of music licensing.That said, this report has some substance to it given that 9to5Mac last week tipped us off to an Apple job listing looking for an iTunes Canada Music Programmer. The job description reads:Execute the music programming of the iTunes Store in Canada, merchandising new releases and other feature content across multiple genres; Update featuring daily, identifying new and priority releases, as well as highlighting library content and showcase depth of catalogue; Work with management in Canada and Cupertino to determine local and global priorities relevant to iTunes. Manage the weekly scheduling and programming process. Collaborate with other editorial programmers on cross content initiatives and promotions. Communicate regularly with the Marketing and Sales team in Canada to coordinate new releases and priorities.
WhiteMagic LCDs when they’ve been limited to lower-end smartphones like the Sony Xperia P. That shouldn’t be a problem from now on, as Japan Display has started mass-producing its first 1080p WhiteMagic screen. Like its ancestors, the new 5-inch panel uses white subpixels to reach outdoor-friendly luminosity (840 cd/m2) without excessive power use; it can also match typical LCD brightness levels using less energy. Japan Display hasn’t said just which phone makers are using the 1080p screen, but we wouldn’t be shocked if company partners like Sony get first dibs. Show full PR textJapan Display Inc. Announces Mass Production Start of 5.0-inch Full-HD TFT LCD WhiteMagic Module– WhiteMagic for High Luminance, High Definition & Power-Saving –October 11, 2013 (Tokyo, Japan): Japan Display Inc. (JDI), a global leader in mobile display technologies, announced mass production start of “WhiteMagic” 5.0-inch Full-HD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels) TFT LCD module. “WhiteMagic” is JDI’s proprietary product, which utilizes unique technology to realize both high luminance and power-saving.”WhiteMagic” adds a White (W) subpixel into a predominantly Red/Green/Blue (RGB) LCD panel and improves picture brightness. At the same time, “WhiteMagic” scans the input picture image data through a unique algorithm which derives the best signal processing to drive the LCD panel and backlight. As the result, the power consumption of the LCD backlight is reduced without deterioration of the picture quality. “WhiteMagic” has one mode to reduce the power consumption of the LCD backlight while achieving the same brightness level, and it has another mode to improve outdoor visibility by increasing luminance by almost 1.5 times with keeping the same power consumption level of the LCD backlight as conventional RGB LCD products*. “WhiteMagic” can be applied to a range of applications to meet users’ requirements.JDI produces “WhiteMagic” at its newest 6th-Generation low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) LCD line, and other lines. Mass production of “WhiteMagic” has already begun in resolution formats of VGA (640 x 680 pixels), qHD (540 x 960 pixels), and 720HD (720 x 1280 pixels). The new 5.0-inch Full-HD module expands the “WhiteMagic” line-up to higher resolution. “WhiteMagic” can be applied to a wide range of applications, not only to smartphones but to other applications as well.We will exhibit these displays in Japan Display Inc. booth on October 23 to 25, 2013, during FPD International 2013 in Pacifico Yokohama, Japan.Product SpecificationScreen size (diagonal)5.0inch (12.6cm)Number of pixels1,080 (x RGB) x 1,920 (Full-HD)Resolution density446ppiDisplay modeTransmissiveDimensions63.24mm (W) x 117.18mm (H)Surface luminance840cd/m2 (typ.)NTSC ratio70％Contrast ratio1000 : 1 (typ.)
founding member of Alliance for Wireless Power (or A4WP in short), made a surprise move today by joining the management board of the rival Wireless Power Consortium (or WPC), the group behind the already commercially available Qi standard. This is quite an interesting development considering how both alliances have been openly critical of each other, and yet now there’s a chance of seeing just one standard getting the best of both worlds. That is, of course, dependent on Qualcomm’s real intentions behind joining the WPC. While Qi is now a well-established ecosystem backed by 172 companies, its current “first-gen” inductive charging method is somewhat sensitive to the alignment of the devices on the charging mats (though there has been recent breakthrough). Another issue is Qi can currently provide just up to 5W of power (which is dependent on both the quality of the coil and the operating frequency), and this may not be sufficient for charging up large devices at a reasonable pace. For instance, even with the 10W USB adapter, the iPad takes hours to fully juice up, let alone with just half of that power.Looking ahead, both the WPC and the 63-strong A4WP are already working on their own magnetic resonance implementations to enable longer range charging. Additionally, A4WP’s standard has also been approved for up to 24W of output, whereas the WPC is already developing medium power (from 15W) Qi specification for the likes of laptops and power tools.Here’s where the two standards differentiate. A4WP’s implementation allows simultaneous charging of devices that require different power requirement on the same pad, thus offering more spacial freedom. On the other hand, Qi follows a one-to-one control design to maximize efficiency — as in the power transfer is totally dependent on how much juice the device needs, and it can even go completely off once the device is charged.What remains unclear is whether Qualcomm has other motives behind its participation in the WPC’s board of management. While the WPC folks “encourage competitors to join” for the sake of “open development of Qi,” this could also hamper the development of their new standard. Late last year, we spoke to the WPC’s co-chair Camille Tang (the name “Qi” was actually her idea; plus she’s also the president and co-founder of Hong Kong-based Convenient Power), and she expressed concern over the potential disruption from the new wireless power groups.”The question to ask is: why are all these groups now coming out and saying they’re doing a standard? It’s possible that some people might say they really are a standard, but they may actually not intend to put products out there,” said Tang.”For example, there’s one company with their technology and one thing that’s rolling out in infrastructure. They don’t have any devices, it’s not compatible with anything else, so you think: why do they do that?”It’s about money. Not just licensing money, but other types of money as well.”At least on the surface, Qualcomm is showing its keen side to get things going for everyone’s best interest. In a statement we received from a spokesperson earlier, the company implied that joining the WPC’s board is “the logical step to grow the wireless power industry beyond the current first generation products and towards next generation, loosely coupled technology.” However, Qualcomm still “believes the A4WP represents the most mature and best implementation of resonant charging.” Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.
Lucy doesn’t belong here, wherever this is. With each step, her body artifacts and glitches slightly as if she’s being derezzed from a virtual environment. Her internal thoughts pop up in old Windows 95 prompts as she moves about a convincing urban sprawl.This is Troubadour, the first game from indie developer Eric Doty and Zak Alexander. Doty, who spends his days working at Microsoft, wants to tell a meaningful story in an easily digestible experience – a brief game, about 30 minutes in total, that will tell the story of protagonist Lu’s ascension from responsibility-free teen into the personal accountability of adult life. Gallery: Troubadour (PAX Prime) | 5 Photos 5 +1 Doty is handling all writing and game development, while his friend Zak Alexander tackles the art side. The game is presented in a 16-bit art style, inspired by games of old and Capy’s recent opus, Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery. The soundtrack is being provided by Alexander’s friend Dallas “Deezign” Stoeckel, a local LA musician.”We’ve been working on this for about four months in our free time in order to create this four-to-five minute demo,” Doty noted prior to my PAX Prime demo. “We hope to release on PC and Mac next year, for a 20-to-30 minute game.”Troubadour’s beginnings actually stemmed from Doty’s last creative endeavor, Steamfunk. It’s a comic he wrote and successfully funded through Kickstarter last year. “That did really well and that was kind of my compromise because, at that point, I wasn’t ready to make a game yet. It was a good way to be creative and build confidence up, to put something out there and have people read it.”Afterwards, Doty found he was ready to begin development on his first game. He took a lot of inspiration from other indie developers by playing Benjamin Rivers’ horror adventure game Home, followed by Cardboard Computer’s Kentucky Route Zero, then The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home. “You’re seeing a lot more of narrative-driven games, to the point where some people wouldn’t consider them games – they’re just interactive stories,” Doty said. “I really like that. There’s always a place for Halo and Call of Duty – I play those games every year and love them – but what I’m really passionate about on my creative side is can I make these almost nugget experiences that people can just get in, get out and enjoy the atmosphere of it all. It’s fun.”Troubadour is certainly more interactive story than game, in my estimation. It has the look of a video game, and I played it with a controller, but it’s more an interactive ball of yarn – a player grabs the lone strand jutting out from the ball, holds onto it, then starts to unravel it all. Players are simply along for the ride, able to interact with certain game elements here and there.You move Lucy from Point A to Point B, but rather than emphasizing gameplay mechanics or high scores, Troubadour favors the journey and narrative. “I have a theory that every story can be told in every medium. Obviously, if you want action, it can be a movie or it could be a game. But I think when somebody feels like they control the protagonist, it speaks to you so much more. And also when you’re sitting down at your computer with headphones, or you’re lounging back on your couch at home, you just put yourself into a different mindset, whereas when you’re watching a movie, you pull out your phone and start goofing around on Twitter. At least with this, you’re engaged.”The PAX Prime demo for Troubadour was incredibly brief but showed a lot of promise for a tale involving a girl struggling with coming of age. Doty drew inspiration for the story from his own life – when he was an introverted 8th grader and started to come out of his shell, transitioning into a professional work environment and simply growing up. The struggles of dealing with that are evident in Troubadour and in an abrasive Lucy, who clearly feels like she has better things to do than be stuck in some video game.”Having to deal with that and grow as an individual, that’s the story I’m trying to tell. And whether it’s a female character or male or a kitten, I think that story rings true with anybody as they grow up.”