Category Archives: gaming

Project Tango: Google’s new prototype Android phone

project-tangoEarlier today, Google announced its latest Android phone titled “Project Tango”.  This new Android phone experiments with robotics and computer vision to map out the world around you.  Project lead, Johnny Lee, stated, “The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.”

The phone itself measures five inches and includes a few sensors (4 MP camera and a motion tracking camera) that allow the phone to make over a quarter of a million 3D measurements every second.  These measurements help the phone update its position, in real-time, and combines all of the data into a single 3D model of the world around you (video below).

This new phone opens up a lot of doors for new features on current smartphones. Chase Cobb stated, “imagine that you scan a small section of your living room and then are able to generate a little game world in it, I don’t know of any controller or gaming device that can do that at the moment.” Besides that, there has also been talk suggesting that these new phones have the ability to help the visually impaired navigate unfamiliar areas with ease. Pretty cool huh?

Well good news to any developers out there. Google is planning on shipping out 200 prototypes and dev kits of Project Tango to “developers with dreams of creating more than a touch-screen app.”  There is an application online for anyone who is interested in trying to get their hands on this device, here.

Thoughts on Project Tango? Comment below with any thoughts/opinions. Also, follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date with current tech news!

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BioShock Infinite developer shutting down

BioShock_Infinite_62347BioShock Infinite developer, Irrational Games, has announced that they will be closing their company. The company’s Co-founder, Ken Levine, told people that he will be starting a new company at Take-Two.  This new company will be focused on “narrative-driven and highly replayable games” that will more than likely all be digital. Due to the company closing, Irrational Games will be laying off most employees beside the select 15 or so that get to stay. Irrational Games has been nice throughout the situation by allowing employees to use the studio in order to make portfolios and even having other studios come visit to speak to the team members leaving to give them a new opportunity. Unfortunately, there will be no more work on the BioShock series. It was handed off to 2K so that Levine and his company could focus on new projects.

Irrational was founded in 1997 by Levine, Jonathan Chey, and Robert Fermier. The three were former employees of Looking Glass Studios, the creator of the Thief andSystem Shock series. Irrational’s releases aside from the BioShock series includedSystem Shock 2Tribes Vengeance, and Freedom Force.

Have any thoughts about this? Leave a comment below!

JXD Releases Android-Based Gaming Tablet

JXD has just recently released its S7100, an Android-powered gaming tablet which will be marketed towards playing old-school arcade games.  The device includes a D-pad, face buttons, and a 7 inch touch screen display.   It will be running on an ARM Cortex A9 CPU, Mali 400 GPU, 512MB of RAM, and includes 16GB of internal storage.

Besides all of this, the S7100 has a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera as well as a 2.0 megapixel rear facing camera with an HDMI out.  A video trailer shows the unit playing a variety of touchscreen games and classic ROMs including Metal SlugMario Kart 64Angry BirdsPlants Vs. Zombies and Fruit Ninja HD. Not to be undone, the device also features the actual PlayStation button icons on its own buttons.

The price tag right now is set around $140.

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5 Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas is quickly approaching with only two shopping days left, leaving many people running around in desperate search of the “perfect” Christmas gift for their family or friends.  Are you in the same situation? Well fear no more, this is a list of 5 last minute Christmas gift ideas that many have purchased this holiday season.

1. Toys – New apps on both the Android and Apple market can lead to some new “toy” ideas.  One of these is the Griffin Helo TC ($39.99).  This is an inexpensive gadget that will fly for about eight minutes on a single charge and is robust enough for you not to worry about the odd crash landing.  There are many other gadgets like this one out there and they are all very popular this holiday season.

2. Cameras – Although smartphones are getting very close to taking over the camera industry, a dedicated device has the ability to do a lot more for you and your photo taking skills.  There are many brands to choose from (Olympus, Canon, Nikon…etc) as well as different types of picture taking cameras (SLR and DSLR).  This gives you a wide range of options and customizations to choose from.  Some popular cameras this year are the Olympus Pen E-P3, the Canon T3i, and other cameras such as the Nikon Coolpix S6100.

3. Headphones – This is an obvious one.  Headphones in today’s society is a “must have”.  Just like cameras, there are many different brands of headphones that are all equally as popular as the other.  Some popular headphones are the Beats by Dre, as well as Bose headphones.  Of course there are many other brands in the cheaper range such as Skullcandy, Sony, and Philips.

4. Cases – All of the above gadgets are great, but they deserve some sort of protection so you can actually get your money’s worth out of them. Brunswick England’s $55, hand-stitched Kindle case, for example, offers a pleasing balance between quality and price. If you want to go the whole hog, however, Mulberry and many more will swaddle your iPad or BlackBerry in almost any material you care to imagine.

5. Video Games – This should be a given for any child/teen out there today.  Most likely, they own some sort of gaming console (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii) and will be wanting the latest game to enjoy.  There are thousands of games to choose from but some of the more popular games and accessories this holiday season include: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Xbox 360’s Kinect, PlayStation 3’s Move, Battlefield 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Voice Activated and Controlled Xbox App

Today.com just announced the launch of their new custom app which can be found on Xbox Live. The exciting new app is part of the all-new Xbox 360 experience that gives you the power to control the Xbox with your voice.

The voice activation, powered by Kinect and Bing search, turns your voice into the ultimate remote control. You can use your voice to effortlessly find the latest show, watch the most popular videos of the day and search for stories by specific anchors or your favorite topics. You say it and Xbox finds it.

“With the Xbox LIVE app, the TODAY show is again evolving with the times and technologies,” said Jim Bell, TODAY Executive Producer. “TODAY has already successfully expanded beyond TV screens and into the lives of millions on a variety of platforms. The brand that was created 60 years ago as a 2-hour morning news show is now available at any time and on any number of devices, from laptops to iPads and now the Xbox.”

With the release of this app, many Xbox owners (or soon to be Xbox owners due to Christmas) have become excited with the new technology brought to the gaming system.

Google Removes Selected Apps From Android Market

Earlier this week, Google removed 22 fraudulent apps from the Android Market that supposedly unknowingly charged users who downloaded them on their devices.  These apps seemed harmless to many functioning as games or even just wallpaper apps.

Apparently, these forecasts and other apps have been ploys for criminals to lure consumers into clicking on options that led to premium charges tied to SMS usage.

Lookout Mobile Security posted about RuFraud on its website, which appeared in batches of horoscope, wallpaper and game apps that used pop culture appeal in conjuring Angry Birds and “Twilight.”

Google moved quickly in order to remove these apps from the market.  However, more of them have appeared over the weekend taking the place of “free versions” of popuular games.

Lookout stated that they have estimated around 14,000 downloads for all of these apps (mostly in Europe) so if you are part of that group, remove the app ASAP.

Apple iTunes Announces Their “App of the year”

Apple has just announced their “app of the year” as well as some other best of 2011 winners on iTunes.   The recipient of the app of the year award was Burbn’s Instagram, while Nik Software’s Snapseed was designated the iPad App of the Year.

The app, Instagram, is a popular (obviously) free photo editing app that not only allows you to take pictures, but you can also add filters and other tweaks, and perhaps most importantly, share your photos with others.  Runner ups for this award go to VidRhythm ($1.99) and Band of the Day (free).

Other awards handed out go to Apple’s iPhone game of the year,  Tiny Tower (free), a Sim-like game of empire building. Runners-ups in this category were Tiny Wings and Touchgrind BMX.

Follow me on Twitter for other iPhone/Apple updates!

The Good and The Bad of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Update

If you are an owner of a Xbox 360 then chances are that you received the new dashboard update yesterday and had to go to hell and back in order for it to work (most of you).  After a delay on the release of the update which left many users unhappy, the new update was distributed to the 35 million Xbox Live users around the world.  This marked a huge stepping stone for Microsoft but it seems as though there were mixed emotions on it.  However, people were still having trouble with the update as it prevented many users from accessing Xbox Live as you can see in one of my earlier posts.

A Twitter user by the name of “Kelvinwins”  tweeted, “I’m underwhelmed by the Xbox Update,” “Metro design is lovely, but the app selection should have been ready for launch. Just a new skin until then.”

This way just one of the many complaints on the update.  However, not everyone was so picky to the new dashboard.  It seems like there are more people that enjoy the new interface which allows more content to be shown.

“Let me say, I like it. I really do,” an Xbox user going by the handle “PTP Run And Gun” wrote in Microsoft’s official forums. “It’s simplified a lot of things for people but the real treat for me is the ability to add my achievements to Facebook, which is a little similar to the way you can do this with the PlayStation. Basically what I’m saying is that this change is good on the whole but people will always try and resist change no matter the benefits.”

Microsoft announced the “all-new Xbox 360 experience” earlier this week. The update comes with Kinect voice control with Bing search and a new interface.  It also supports professional programming from ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and others. In the coming weeks and months, content from Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, HBO Go, and others will be added.  Follow me on Twitter to find out when.

New Xbox Update Leads To Online Problems

Many of you have been anticipating the arrival of the new Xbox 360 dashboard update.  Today, after a delay of the release of the update, users have either 1. got the update and are now enjoying it or 2. you get the update but run into an error message (specifically, error message  3524 0000 0080 0200 8015 1909) that prevents you from playing your games online.

The error has been affecting an alarming amount of people.  Xbox Live’s Director of Programming Larry Hyrb tweeted, ”Some Xbox Live members are getting a connection error when signing in to Live. We are aware of the issue and the team is working it!” Users can also check the current status of all Xbox Live-related services, including Xbox Live itself, here.  (Follow me on Twitter to find out the status)

Some people have found ways to work around this problem.  One solution that seems to work is to sign on to Xbox Live through a different game such as Battlefield and then switch discs.  People have also found that repeatedly trying to find a break in the online traffic eventually works.  Another option is to download the update from Xbox.com to a flashdrive and then install it locally (although many people haven’t found this solution to work as well).

Xbox 360 Dashboard Update Dec. 6

Yes, it has finally been given a release date. Keep your eyes peeled for December 6th when the dashboard update goes live.  here’s how it is going to look.

It was no surprise that the update was going to deliver a Windows 8 type feel; however, the blue background is a surprise. I don’t know if that is a custom preference or the standard that everyone will have. If it is the standard, I must say it’s shocking. I understand there is  halo theme on this, but the overall blue effect could still be a standard. I would’ve expected the same colors they’ve been using with either that silvery color or the classic green. To change to a color that is not in the Xbox palette  is a little surprising to me. If this is a theme, you can expect the traditional silver background. We know that the use of Kinect is still being promoted and should work well with this layout going forward. Get ready for YouTube, TV (not sure if that’s available at launch), and a whole new navigation experience coming to your living room December 6th.

P.S. also be prepared for a long update like always.