Spatial orientation comes to notebooks
The Xbox’s Kinect may not have set the world on fire like Microsoft ad hoped it would, but that isn’t stopping Acer from giving it a go. Launching as part of the company’s new notebook lineup being introduced at CES, Acer’s high end V 17 Nitro notebook has an integrated Intel RealSense 3D camera. Used to measure motion and depth, the V 17 Nitro’s will allow you to control compatible PC games in a very similar fashion to Kinect enabled Xbox games. Make a rowing motion with your arms to row your boat in-game – do a jumping jack and have your in-game avatar convince you you’re exercising – the possibilities are limitless.
Inside the rather eccentric looking gigantic laptop is all the latest and greatest specifications you might expect. You’ve got your quad-core 2.5GHz Core i7 processor, GeForce GTX 860M graphics card, 1TB of spinning disk storage alongside 128GB or 256GB of solid state storage, a high resolution 17-inch display, and more.
The Acer V 17 Nitro launches this month for an undisclosed sum of money, so keep an eye for more information. Acer also has a whole other lineup of new notebooks from high end gaming rigs to full blown workstation replacements, all of which you can discover at the source link below.
There will be smartwatches galore
CES 2015 will be the year of the smartwatch. It will also be the year of the sub-$2000 4K television set, the far-away 8K television set, virtual reality, and driverless cars. It will be the year where smartphones became passé; it will be the year home automation became a legitimate, for real, real thing. Or, maybe, 2015 will be none of those things. Maybe 2015 will be the year of something crazy, something none of us could have possibly expected.
Maybe whatever we get at CES this year will be something so jaw dropping, so amazing, that it will instantly send ripples through the fabric of space time, changing the course of humanity forever. Maybe CES 2015 will bring something quiet, something small, something that slips underneath the radar and we don’t even notice it yet somehow manages to become the next big thing.
Maybe CES 2015 will be none of those things, and maybe it’ll just be another average, expected – albeit boring – trade show with a bunch of things that nobody wants, and things that everybody wants but nobody will get (at least not yet).
Whatever CES 2015 brings, we’ll be right here to deliver the biggest, baddest, and maybe most ridiculous it has to offer. Our CES 2015 coverage begins now.
It's no flagship
HTC is preparing to launch a new budget smartphone at CES next week, according to today’s rumor mill. The new smartphone, which will launch with HTC’s existing “Desire” branding, is said to be codenamed “HTC A52” and will ship with a 13MP “selfie” front facing camera in numerous colorful configurations, including “navy blue/vivid blue, taupe purple/tangerine tango, terra white/almond, terra white/tangerine tango” according to @Upleaks.
The company has begun teasing the launch of their new budget smartphone on their official Weibo account, posting the above teaser image reading, “Always Desire more.” I’ll just continue reading into that as I will – to keep looking forward to the company’s true third-generation HTC One flagship device.
Games, apps, music, shows, movies - it's all fair game
Responding to a requests from the European Union, Apple has begun allowing European customers to return any and all digital purchases sold on Apple’s iTunes Store or App Store services for up to two weeks for a full refund, with or without a good reason. You’ll still need to pay the fee upfront – so that $15 movie is still going to cost $15 – but if you watch the movie and decided you don’t like it, back it can go.
The new policy is now in affect in all countries governed by the European Union, which means that American customers are still out of luck if they decide that crummy port of Soulcalibur isn’t up to their standards. Of course, there are fears that this sort of system is ripe for abuse, but good on the European Union and Apple for choosing not to treat would be customers as potential criminals.
Bugs and connection issues expected
While Microsoft and developer 343i continue to recover from the disastrous Halo: The Master Chief Collection launch, both companies are looking ahead at what comes next – Halo 5: Guardians. Today the company has officially launched the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta to everyone who purchased Halo: Master Chief Collection with two included maps – Truth, and Empire – and the Slayer playlist.
Haverzine was granted a sneak peak of the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta alongside other Xbox Preview Program members, and all in all we liked what we saw. Gameplay was fast and fluid, graphics were impressive and a notable step up from 2012’s Halo 4, and the game still felt more or less like Halo.
That said, we did notice some odd glitches and problems in our time with the Multiplayer Beta early access period. We noted some severe connection issues throughout the weekend, with parties failing to connect to the Halo servers, games ending early, and slow matchmaking performance in general. The beta is also running at a sub 1080p resolution, disappointing considering the Xbox One’s graphical capabilities and expectations.
Are you enjoying the Halo 5 beta? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! I’ll see you on the battlefield.
Great artists steal
Would-be-succesful entrepreneurs, take note – if you want to launch a brand capable of raising $1.1 billion in a single investment round and dream of someday being valued at, oh, let’s say $45 billion, you only need to do just one thing; you need to make beautiful products, and they need to look a whole lot like the sort of stuff you’d find at an Apple Store.
That’s the sort of Xiaomi, a venture-backed Chinese based mobile phone manufacturer that has today announced that they’ve raised $1.1 billion in new capital, bringing their total valuations up to $45 billion. It really is a fairy tale; in 2012, Xiaomi was worth just $4 billion.
President Bin Lin said in a statement today that the company will use this money to “strive to continue bringing innovation to everyone, with a goal of producing high-quality, high-performance devices with great user experience.” Of course, innovation is a funny word – just a cursory look at the company’s product portfolio reveals that the company’s various innovations just happen to look a whole lot like the ones that come out of Apple’s front door in Cupertino.
Xiaomi takes all of that in stride, of course, with Vice President Hugo Barra previously pointing out that Apple’s own designs aren’t exactly always original. “I think it’s great that Apple took existing ideas that were very good and added their design twist on top… that’s what they do. That’s what we do.”
And he’s got a point, of course. Apple’s designs have never been shy about revealing their inspiration from designer Dieter Rams, and the work he did for Braun. In 2012, Cult of Mac put together a handy guide that compares popular Apple product designs with their Braun originals.
Xiaomi President Bin Lin also used today’s announcement to trump up hype for the company’s next generation flagship smartphone in January, likely on the CES 2015 show floor.
It's still Trident, though
The ever reliable Mary Jo Foley of All About Microsoft on ZDNet is reporting that, despite expectations that Microsoft is working on developing Internet Explorer 12, Microsoft is in fact working on an entirely new web browser developed from the ground up using the existing Trident core. The new web browser, which is expected to ship alongside Windows 10 and is codenamed Spartan, sticking with Microsoft’s Halo inspired codenames for the next version of Windows, will feature versions both native to the “Modern” tablet experience as well as the desktop.
Microsoft will reportedly ship Windows 10 with both the new Spartan web browser alongside the existing version of Internet Explorer 11 found on Windows 8.1 devices for backwards compatibility purposes. According to Jo’s sources, “Spartan” will feature a brand new, streamlined, user experience that more closely resembles other modern web browsers, including Google’s Chrome and newer versions of Mozilla Firefox.
Microsoft may not be on track to ship a beta version of “Spartan” in time for the official Windows 10 Consumer Preview in January, however it will likely ship with a future build pushed to Windows Insiders not long after.
Source: All About Microsoft
Side stepping into the future
It’s been a while since I’ve drafted a status report, and I think given the current state of both the site as well as our coverage, we’re long overdue for one. A cursory look at our homepage will reveal that we haven’t published stories on a daily basis for quite some time. This is something I’ve long been meaning to address. Frankly, I have no excuses; Haverzine should absolutely be doing a better job of delivering on our mission, which remains unchanged. We want to inform you, no matter you are, of the most important stories in tech.
We haven’t been doing a great job at that lately. Unfortunately, Haverzine is something I do on the side; it generates absolutely no profits for me, and the little revenue we do get from the little advertisement we do have (which is currently suspended due to our Breast Cancer Awareness campaign) has always gone right back into improving Haverzine in various ways, usually through advertising and getting the word out. Since launching Haverzine in April 2012, I’ve worked numerous – and mostly full time – positions, nearly completed undergraduate – and completed a total of two internships. On top of all this, I am now writing a thesis as well completing a third and final internship with full time hours. All of this, of course, applies to Sean Ellis as well, our volunteer writer who graciously donated dozens of hours of time writing incredibly thoughtful pieces for us over the last couple of years. My thanks for having had him around is sincere.
You can see how finding the time for much else is difficult, especially when you add “maintaining a personal life” into the mix.
On January 1st, 2015, many of these hindrances will be gone. I hope to be be starting a new, full-time position at an employer that I hopefully feel comfortable working for; I will have completed my undergraduate degree and taking my first real break from education since 1996, and I will be able to commit more time doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. Or, that’s the plan, anyways. The truth of the matter is I’m at a transition point in my life, and I really no idea what curveballs will be thrown at me, and as such, it’s difficult to say for any degree of certainty what my schedule will look like next week, forget about January.
So all of that said, where does that leave Haverzine? There will be no changes. The site will remain, and I will continue writing as often as I can about as much as I can that I believe is important and relevant to the conversation. This isn’t a promise that I will bring back daily coverage – though I wish it were. This is merely an acknowledgment that situations have – and will continue to – changed, and that I will do do my best to work around those changing situations. For the last 6 months or so I have drawn out detailed plans for what I’ve been calling Haverzine 2.0, plans which I hope to realize someday – and hopefully some day sooner rather than later. I have roadmaps laid out for miles. Those roadmaps have not, and will not, change.
To conclude, I’d like to sincerely thank each and every person who has ever read any of our posts for their time and consideration. When I started Haverzine, I had little experience with writing long form, absolutely no journalism experience, and virtually no experience with publishing and advertising. Haverzine thus far has represented my desire to learn the tools of this trade and my determination to figure things out as I go. I’m committed to keep doing that.
Google has long been heralding two very distinct platforms – Android, the company’s mobile first operating system that helped pioneer the modern smartphone market, and Chrome, which began as a humble, WebKit based web browser that grew to become an entire operating system with a not small library of developer and end user support.
Google’s two platforms couldn’t be more different, but Google is making strides towards bringing their two babies closer together than ever. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has put the VP of engineering for Android, Hiroshi Lockheimer, in charge of the engineering team over on the Chrome side. That means that the same individual will now be responsible for building both the mobile-centric Android and the desktop-class Chrome OS. While this isn’t exactly a confirmation that the two platforms will grow closer together in terms of design and functionality, it does suggest that such a thing wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
If you could even call it an iPad mini 3
At Apple’s usual October event held in Cupertino yesterday, Apple announced their new lineup of iPad tablets, including the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3. Starting first and foremost with the significantly updated iPar Air 2, Apple’s 10-inch flagship tablet, the Air 2 gains both new internals as well as a redesigned exterior. The new full sized iPad is now significantly thinner than last year’s iPad Air, which already clocked in at just about half the width ads the previous, fourth-generation iPad.
Apple liked to say that the original iPad Air was as thin as a pencil, and now the company is really driving that home with the marketing of the new iPad Air 2. By using a pencil with just amount a third of it removed with a laser in an introduction video played at the event, Apple shows exactly how thin this new iPad is. And yet, despite all the design improvements, the new iPad features an all new A8X SoC, which pairs the improved computing power of the A8 – which launched alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last month – with an even beefier graphics processor. Given that the iPad Air 2 has the same HiDPI 2048 x 1536 display as its predecessors leading back to the iPad 3, this should result in better gaming performance. The iPad Air 2 also now includes Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint recognition technology that launched alongside the iPhone 5s last year. The iPad Air 2 is available for pre-order now in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options in Space Gray, Silver, and the new Gold – all available in both Wi-Fi and LTE models.
The iPad mini 3, meanwhile, saw somewhat less of an update – in fact, it’s almost shameful that Apple is choosing to market the iPad mini 3 as a separate product at all. While the Air 2 gets improved internals and a new design, the mini 3 uses both the same design and the same A7 SoC found in the iPad mini with Retina Display (now dubbed the iPad mini 2). Literally the only addition here comes in the form of Touch ID and the new gold color. And for your trouble, Apple will also now charge you $399 for the iPad mini 3 – a $100 premium on top of the nearly identical iPad mini 2, which is now available unchanged for $299. The iPad mini 3 is available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options – all available in, you guessed it, Wi-Fi and LTE models.
"It's been way too long."
We’ve spent the past week speculating, but it’s finally time to learn the truth – or, well, it will be on October 16th. Apple has just sent out invitations to the rumored October 16th Special Event. For puzzle solvers among us will want to pay extra special attention to the tagline, “It’s been way too long.” In the past, Apple’s invitations have offered hints towards the content of the special event. Or, of course, it could just be Apple poking fun at the fact that their iPhone 6 / iWatch event happened not a month ago. Either one.
Apple is expected to use this event to unveil their new iPad lineup, launch OS X Yosemite, and announce updated Mac models – including, perhaps, an all new iMac with a Retina Display. Apple is holding this special event in an auditorium on campus in Cupertino, signifying this will be a significantly smaller event than that massive September event.
Source: Nilay Patel
Bigger than better?
The iPhone 6 Plus is a jumbo, comically huge smartphone. If Apple’s product portfolio were a clown outfit, the iPhone 6 Plus would be the bright red, obnoxious oversized shoes. It doesn’t fit in some front pockets, it sticks out of nearly everyone’s back pockets, and people will notice it and it will illicit reactions, at least while it’s still new and kind of foreign looking.
In fact, I would say that the iPhone 6 Plus is larger than I expected. I’m even one of those guys who went ahead and made scale paper cutouts of each size iPhone 6. It’s certainly a larger smartphone than I ever expected to own, and the size did come as a bit of a shock at first. But once you get past the sheer largeness of the 6 Plus, you can begin to evaluate it on better merits- ones not impeded by the initial “oh my God this is ridiculously large”. After a couple of weeks with the iPhone 6 Plus, I think I have enough familiarity to say some things with certainty. This is the official Haverzine iPhone 6 Plus review.
Read more to hear my take on Apple’s ginormous, huge iPhone 6 Plus.