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13Mar/120

Microsoft Shows Off New Touchscreen Technology – Let’s Hope Android OEM’s Come Up With Something Similar [Video]

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Android’s not perfect. And you’d be a fool to think so. One of the issues with Android that has long irked me about our mobile OS is what I call “screen lag.” Now, I’m not talking about framerate (which could use some improvement as well), but I’m talking about how quickly the screen responds and follows your finger when moving it across the screen. Whether it’s the little unlock ring on Honeycomb/ICS or simply drawing on the screen in an app like Draw Something (add me: Gamercore), I’ve oft wondered how, if ever, Android would be able to improve upon this.

Some of the other mobile OS’s like WP7 and iOS have what feels like significantly less lag thanks to a butter smooth framerate but still, the problem persists. Recently, Nvidia showed us how they hope to better alleviate this issue with their Tegra 3′s processor using a little something they’re calling DirectTouch, that offloads some of the touchscreen processing across its 5 cores. Check out their video below.

Impressive? Sure. But nowhere near impressive to what Microsoft is cooking up. They uploaded a video to YouTube that shows us what we can look forward to from manufacturers in the future on touchscreen devices. I’m talking about zero touchscreen latency. Now, I’m sure this video wont appeal to everybody, but for the truly geeky, this is essentially nerd-porn. Enjoy.

So, what did you guys think? Do you think a touchscreen with zero latency could help the overall Android user experience? Or is this something you’ve never considered, nor give a hoot about?


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13Mar/120

Samurai vs Zombies Defense Comes To Android – Blood, Gore, and The Undead In Feudal Japan

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Sometimes, I feel like maybe I’m a little too easy to please. Throw a badass samurai hero hacking away at zombies in feudal Japan and I’m all-in. And I’m sure that’s exactly what Glu Mobile was banking on after publishing Samurai vs Zombies Defense into the Android Market today. Yeah, I’ll give it to them. I’m a sucker. But really, SvZD is actually pretty good. You take control of a hero character whom you can control by either moving right or left, as he auto-attacks the onslaught of Japanese zombies spewing forth from hell’s evil portal.

Less of an action game, and more along the lines of tower defense, your main character can be upgraded in variety of ways from his defense, attack strength or magic abilities, or you can chose to spend all your hard-earned cash on a variety of upgrades for your allies and/or tower. There’s even a few mini games thrown into the mix that rewards the player with rare items and bonus cash.

The game looks great, plays well and if you can get passed the sometimes annoying prompts for in-app purchases (it is a freemium title after all), I think you’ll have some fun with it too. You can find Samurai vs Zombies Defense for free, right now on Google Play. Come back and let me know what you think of it.

[Google Play Link]


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13Mar/120

Huawei mobile hotspot goes up to 100 Mbps

Huawei has just introduced a new mobile hotspot device that breaks some of the barriers we have come to expect from mobile devices these days. First, it can be used as a hotspot for up to 10 Wi-Fi products, not just five. And second, it says it can offer peak speeds of up to 100 Mbps, a number that certainly pushes the limits of LTE.

By comparison, in the US, the strongest 4G LTE signals give users download speeds of around 25 Mbps. And that’s considered blazing fast. For now, this device from Huawei is only available in Japan, but that’s only because that’s the only region where a network exists that can fully support it. The problem with taking that technology to a country like the US is that spectrum is at a premium over here.

The name of the hotspot is simply its model number, the E589 FDD. Huawei, which remains a nascent company in the US and European markets, has been trying to build a brand that sets it apart from the HTCs of the world. HTC was lucky enough to spring ahead and become a corporate conglomerate thanks to Android, and Huawei is trying to do the same thing. In the mean time, though, it is busy revolutionizing the Asian market, as is evidenced by the E589 FDD.

[via GigaOM]

Huawei mobile hotspot goes up to 100 Mbps is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

HP Envy 14 Spectre Review

The HP ENVY 14 Spectre was easily one of the most promising ultrabooks we saw at CES 2012, and a few months of waiting hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm. The premium notebook combines high-end features and unique materials into a 14-inch body that’s distinct from just about everything on the market, which is something you couldn’t say for many of HP’s previous entries in the ENVY line. Does this unique machine rise above the pack? Let’ find out.

Hardware

The first thing you’ll notice upon taking the Spectre out of its premium packaging (after sliding off the complimentary neoprene case) is a lid that isn’t so much glossy as glassy. Gorilla Glass, to be specific: not only does it cover the screen, you’ll also find it on the touchpad, palmrest and the jet-black lid of the laptop itself. While this is certainly a unique approach (and much appreciated on the screen and touchpad) it makes the lid a rather predictable magnet for fingerprints and smudges. If the Spectre catches your eye for its looks, be prepared to lug around a microfiber cloth to keep it attractive.

The rest of the body is either hard or soft-touch plastic, which helps keep the weight at least comparable to 13-inch ultrabooks. Like Dell’s XPS 13, the HP claims to cram a screen into a body one size smaller than otherwise possible. Observing the tiny bezel on either side of the Spectre(but not the top and bottom) it’s easy to believe them. Indeed, the screen is one of the laptop’smost impressive features: a full 1600×900 LCD  panel with downright dazzling brightness, I can say without hesitation that it’s one of the best laptop screens I’ve ever used.

Surprisingly, the keyboard and touchpad measure up to this high standard. While the keyboard isn’t the best (that honor still goes to Lenovo) it’s plenty comfortable for extended typing, and the backlight and full function row are welcome additions. The all-glass trackpad seems to have finally caught up with Apple’s lofty Macbooks: tracking, gestures and recessed clicks are as good as any Windows laptop I’ve ever used, and better than the vast majority.

Even with all this style and usability, HP manages to cram more ports into the Spectre 14 than any other ultrabook on the market. Along the left side you get an SD card slot (a feature all too often ignored in the form factor), a combined microphone/headphone port, one each of USB 2.0and 3.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, and both HDMI and DisplayPort video-out options. As a major advocate of multiple monitors, I appreciate the flexibility. On the right you get an analog rocker dial (a miniature version of the one found on the ENVY 15) with a glowing Beats logo, and a mute and Beats equalizer button on either side. A pair of indicator lights and the power jack round out the hardware.

The Envy 14 Spectre isn’t the slinkiest ultrabook around, or the lightest, or even the prettiest. But for a combination of great screen and trackpad, solid keyboard, and all the inputs and outputs you’re likely to need, it’s an excellently compact design. It’s the first ultrabook I’ve seen that could viably replace a full-sized laptop for all the functions one might need it, save heavy gaming or popping in a DVD.

Software

HP’s usual mess of packed-in software accompanies the Spectre, along with Norton, Microsoft’s Office, Silverlight and Bing Bar, and the HP MovieStore. But like the HP Envy 15, they’ve included both Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements free of charge (or more accurately, included in the price tag). As a regular user of both programs in their CS4 flavors, that’s a big plus, seeing as the bundle costs $150 at most retailers.

Otherwise Windows 7 Home Premium is the same as it ever was – if you’ve used any variant of Windows 7, you’ll be right at home. It is the 64GB version, so if HP ever offers more than 4GB at the time of purchase you’ll be able to make use of it right out of the box. Aftermarket upgrades are neither supported nor recommended. As with just about any machine with a current-gen processor and plenty of RAM, the software is responsive and fast, at least on the “clean” installation.

Performance

The base Envy 14 Spectre that we tested comes with a 1.6Ghz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 128GB SSD drive. This should be more than enough for everything but the most intensive of media tasks. No one’s been able to cram discrete graphics into an ultrabook form factor yet, so current high-end gaming is out, but the Intel HD 3000 series should handle older or simpler games well enough.

System - Hewlett-Packard HP ENVY 14 SPECTRE Notebook PC

Manufacturer Hewlett Packard Product Type Notebook
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Motherboard Hewlett-Packard 17CA
Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
Processor ID GenuineIntel Family 6 Model 42 Stepping 7
Processor Frequency 1.60 GHz Processors 1
Threads 4 Cores 2
L1 Instruction Cache 32.0 KB L1 Data Cache 32.0 KB
L2 Cache 256 KB L3 Cache 3.00 MB
Memory 4.00 GB DDR3 SDRAM 666MHz FSB 99.8 MHz
BIOS Hewlett-Packard F.02

Benchmark Score - Hewlett-Packard HP ENVY 14 SPECTRE Notebook PC

Section Description Score Total Score
Windows x86 (64-bit) - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Integer Processor integer performance 4328 5407
Floating Point Processor floating point performance 7292
Memory Memory performance 4653
Stream Memory bandwidth performance 4096

I did notice that the boot up time for the Spectre is downright amazing, even when compared with the rest of the ultrabook crop. From a cold boot (not sleep or hibernation) the machine gets to the Windows login screen in just over 25 seconds. Restores from sleep were basically instantaneous. For the road warrior who often needs quick access to the full power of a PC, that’s a godsend, and almost certainly thanks to a high-quality SSD, in this case made by Samsung.

If you want a more powerful option, the higher configuration currently offered by HP uses a Core i7 processor and a 256GB SSD, but the same 4GB of memory. If you want the faster processor and more space, you’d better be willing to pay for it: the higher tier is a $500 premium over the base model.

Media & Battery

The small form factor of the Envy obviously limits your options when it comes to disc-based media, but beyond that small limitation it’s an entertainment powerhouse. The combination of that fabulous screen, Beats audio, and powerful if not fantastic speakers make for an enjoyable experiences for streaming video and music. And for the constant traveler, having both DisplayPort and a full-sized HDMI-out really broadens your options for presentations of movies.

With that large, high-res screen and a relatively powerful processor, I was afraid that the Spectre would be yet another poor entry in the ultrabook battery department. Not so: across three separate tests with the screen at half brightness and doing my regular regimen of heavy browsing and emailing, I managed battery times of 6:23, 6:37 and 6:39. While not the best battery life out there by a long shot (that goes to HP’s own Folio 13) it’s plenty for a cross-continental plane trip or an extended session of work in a coffee shop devoid of outlets. On that note, HP continues to offer three-prong plugs in its adapters – a shame. But on the plus side, the adapter has a built-in USB charging port for giving your phone a jump without turning on the computer.

Wrap Up

Without a doubt, the HP Envy 14 Spectre is one of the best ultrabooks we’ve ever tested. Solid performance, unique style, plenty of inputs and a gorgeous high-resolution screen make it a joy to use. This is the first ultrabook that’s seriously tempted me to give up my hulking full-sized daily driver laptop, because there really are no compromises, so long as you can live without a disc drive and down’t mind giving the glass lid a wipe down every once in a while.

However, all this luxury and utility comes at a price – literally. At $1399, the Envy 14 Spectre is also the most expensive ultrabook we’ve tested, coming in far above the commonly expected $1,000 entry. It’s worth every penny, mind you – but you’ve got to have the pennies on hand, and be willing to put them towards a machine that you hope will last several years. With the current pace of advancement in the ultrabook form factor that may be  a hard pill to swallow. The Spectre is also considerably larger and thicker than its 13-inch contemporaries, though not to a degree that’ll make a huge difference in a carry-on bag.

The bottom line is this: there are thinner, lighter and perhaps more stylish options out there, and ultrabooks that can last longer without needing a charge. But if you like the looks of the Envy 14 Spectre, want a laptop that’s compact, flexible and has one of the best screens out there, and you’re willing to put down at least $1400 to get it, there’s nothing in my experience that should dissuade you. Spend your money, and you shall not be disappointed.

Check out the video hands-on below:

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HP Envy 14 Spectre Review is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

HTC firms Ice Cream Sandwich devices

HTC has just published a blog post that, aside from making a cheesy reference to ice cream sandwiches, confirms a list of devices that are guaranteed to eventually be pushed to Android 4.0. The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system has a bad track record when it comes to legacy device upgrades, but manufacturers are nevertheless steaming ahead.

HTC said that it is in the “early stages of rolling out Android 4.0″ for the HTC Sensation and the HTC Sensation XE. It promised that “upgrades will be more widely available in the next few weeks.” The company stressed that upgrades are also reliant on carriers, and a lot of the update scheduling has to go through them, so nailing down timelines is difficult.

The hope is that HTC’s update process will go much more smoothly than the manufacturers before it. The Nexus S phone and the Transformer Prime tablet both had horrendous experiences that caused early upgraders to see their devices freeze and crash, with the updates quickly pulled thereafter. The complete list of HTC devices confirmed for upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich are:

* HTC Amaze 4G
* HTC Desire S
* HTC Desire HD
* HTC EVO 3D
* HTC EVO Design 4G
* HTC Incredible S
* HTC Sensation
* HTC Sensation XL
* HTC Sensation 4G
* HTC Sensation XE
* HTC Raider
* HTC Rezound
* HTC Rhyme
* HTC Thunderbolt
* HTC Vivid

HTC firms Ice Cream Sandwich devices is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

GameStop Donkey Kong 3D displays were bogus, store says

Even though GameStop somehow got its hands on a Donkey Kong 3D display case, the games retailer is now saying that the game doesn’t exist and it should never have been put up in the store in the first place. In fact, a company employee has even been quoted as saying that the displays were essentially put up in error. It does a bit suspect, though.

So over the weekend, an online user who goes by the handle Scraps69 posted photos of a Nintendo 3DS display box with the title “Donkey Kong 3D” with the words “Coming 2012″ and “Preorder Now” at the bottom. In the middle was a picture of Donkey and Diddy Kong. The picture was taken at an EB Games store in Australia. EB Games was acquired by GameStop several years ago.

When asked for comment, though, a GameStop representative told Kotaku, “The displays were not supplied by Nintendo and have been taken down. It’s definitely not in the system in the U.S. I’m sure it’s not elsewhere, either, but I can’t confirm that.” It’s hard to imagine that EB Games just made this up for no reason. But, of course, the official word is essentially just “forget what you saw.”

[via Kotaku]

GameStop Donkey Kong 3D displays were bogus, store says is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

Capcom’s Resident Evil: Chronicles HD coming to PS3

Fans of the Resident Evil franchise, or those who have always wanted to get into the series, will be just a click away from some horror thriller goodness this summer. Capcom has confirmed that Resident Evil: Chronicles HD will be making its way as a downloadable game for the PS3 in June. The download will include The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles.

Both will be presented in high-definition, and will support the PlayStation Move motion controller. Of course, support for standard PS3 controls will also be available. When it launches, the two included titles won’t be available as separate downloads, but later on they will be broken up for gamers who just want one or the other. Pricing details were not announced.

There will be support for both single-player as well as cooperative multiplayer in the game. “Resident Evil: Chronicles HD Collection will offer gamers the chance to relive the Resident Evil story so far. The intense shooter gameplay from both titles is back as players attempt to survive the horror alone or with a friend in co-op mode, earning trophies as they go,” said Capcom in a statement.

[via Examiner]

Capcom’s Resident Evil: Chronicles HD coming to PS3 is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

PayPal digital wallet introduced

PayPal has just lifted off the covers of its new digital wallet platform, which now only aims to further increase its presence in emerging digital payments but also adds some new and interesting features to the market. For example, users can specify various rules for automatically selecting a specific payment method based on purchase price or merchant. It will reportedly replace the existing PayPal.com home page, which hasn’t been updated in years.

PayPal has made a lot of advancements in a very short period of time. In just the last several months, the company has launched Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless payment exchange between phones, it enabled users to deposit checks via a mobile app, and it rolled out the ability to pay at the retail point-of-sale at virually all Home Depot locations.

PayPal has been sitting around as the primary leader in alternative payments for years, but in 2012 it is poised to face a lot of competition. The advancement of NFC technology will allow other third-party payment providers to really make a splash. As a result, PayPal is doing exactly what it needs to do – stay ahead of the curve. And it truly is doing just that. The idea of using your PayPal account to not only pay for but also accept payments outside of digital transactions would have seemed foreign just a couple years ago, but now it’s becoming exceedingly commonplace.

[via VentureBeat]

PayPal digital wallet introduced is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

Epic Games expects awesome Wii U show at E3, else will “be shocked”

Epic Games vice president Mark Rein says that gamers should expect an amazing showing from Nintendo’s new console at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. If that doesn’t happen, he says, he’s “be shocked.” Rein’s endorsement pulls a lot of weight as Nintendo continues to struggle with the lack of third-party support on its platforms.

As long as you put Mario or Pokemon on a game system, it will sell enough units to keep you in business. That essentially explains Nintendo’s business model for the last couple Nintendo systems. If it gets major third-party publishing support, few of those titles even make the front page, leaving some to abandon support altogether. Games are released simultaneously on PS3 and Xbox 360 all the time, but only for certain titles does the Wii get included in that mix.

Rein sees the Wii U as a chance to bring back huge third-party support, though. In an interview with Eurogamer, Rein said, “I like the Wii U. I think E3 will be a big eye-opener for people … Their hardware is the software delivery service for their great content.” He said that Epic can do a lot with its Unreal Engine 3. “I think it will do great,” he affirmed. We’ll see if that actually happens.

[via Eurogamer]

Epic Games expects awesome Wii U show at E3, else will “be shocked” is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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13Mar/120

Hacked AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Now Running On T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ Network

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Well, slap me silly and call me an iPhone user — those boys on XDA did it. And by “it,” I mean getting AT&T’s coveted Samsung Galaxy Note LTE up and running on T-mobile’s 4G network. Guess the Note had it in her the whole time. After a bit of carrier unlocking, rooting and flashing a T-Mobile radio, one happy modder is on his way to collecting the bounty after getting upwards of 4Mbps download speeds on T-Mo without a hitch.

Now, we should warn you, before you start feeling brave and try to do this yourself (it honestly, isn’t all that difficult), there are one of a few ways to turning your smartphone into a shiny brick and flashing an incompatible radio is most certainly one of ‘em. For those more experienced in the ways of root, you guys thinking about giving this a shot to get a G-Note on T-Mo?

Thanks, Travis!

[XDA]


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