At long last, Microsoft unveiled its next-generation gaming console today, the Xbox One. As expected, its hardware stacks up well with the Wii U and PlayStation 4, and the launch event showcased some slick new software, too. With tight fantasy sports integration, Windows 8 and Skype support and cooperation with live TV, the One looks to have taken the next step in transforming the Xbox from a gaming rig into a true home entertainment console. It’s a rare thing to get to opine on a new game console, so head on past the break and allow us to indulge this opportunity.
It’s hardly a new tactic — teasing music lovers with a stream of a new album prior to its on-sale date — but Pandora’s getting into that business in an official way today. Not content with letting iTunes drink the whole of said milkshake, Pandora Premieres will allow users to preview upcoming album releases in their entirety before they go on sale. The new station will reportedly feature both mainstream and emerging artists, with albums to hit the Pandora airwaves “up to one week prior to the scheduled US launch date.” Listeners can enjoy these early album releases simply by adding the Pandora Premieres station, which will be updated weekly with new releases. Better still, users will be able to replay it as much as they’d like, or listen to bits of pieces of it as they choose. If you’d like to give it a look, head to your Pandora player and search for “Pandora Premieres.”
We’ve already spent some quality time with Nokia’s handsome Lumia 925 and while it’s no secret the company’s Windows Phone flagship is coming to the US courtesy of T-Mobile, we’d never actually seen the carrier-branded model — until now, that is. Nokia brought T-Mobile’s version of the handset to CTIA 2013 where we took it for a brief spin. As you’d expect, the phone is identical to its global twin save for the operator’s logo below the capacitive button and the radios which support T-Mobile’s bands. Unfortunately, the Lumia 925 we played with was not final, so the software was off limits. In terms of hardware, it features the same 4.5-inch 1,280 x 768 AMOLED screen, 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 1GB RAM and 8.7-megapixel camera with OIS. This is definitely one of Nokia’s most attractive designs yet, and we’re looking forward to getting our hands on a review unit soon. In the meantime, why not check out the gallery below?
There are plenty of kits out there designed to help kids learn the ins and outs of electronics, but LightUp hopes to stand out from the crowd with not just easy-to-use building blocks but an accompanying augmented reality app as well. From resistors and LED modules to light sensors, each block represents a real component that can be attached to each other via magnetic connectors, hopefully creating a circuit in the process. LightUp even offers an Arduino-compatible microcontroller block to help kids start coding — clip the programming wand to the block, hook it up to your computer, and away you go.
What really sets LightUp apart is the aforementioned AR app. Simply snap a picture of your circuit, and the software will let you know what’s wrong with it if there’s a mistake. If everything’s working, it’ll display an electrical flow animation atop the picture, showing kids the magic of electricity. We had a go at creating a circuit ourselves, and were delighted at how easy it was. The connectors fit in either direction, and can be attached and reattached with ease. We also saw a brief demo of the prototype application, and sure enough, it showed us when an LED block was placed backwards with an error message — you can see it in action in the video below.
Gallery: LightUp hands-on
Filed under: Science
The future of Motorola’s smartphones are now falling into place, and we couldn’t be more excited. Following the FCC certification of the XT1058 for AT&T, a similar test report for the XT1056 has just crossed our desk. This time around, the smartphone carries certification for LTE Band 25, which puts it as a dead ringer for a Sprint device. Regardless of whether this handset turns out to be the purported “X phone” is almost beside the point, because we already know that cross-carrier availability and stock Android are key to Motorola’s future in the smartphone realm. There are a few worthwhile points to take away from the FCC certification of the XT1056, which suggest that this will be a very capable handset.
First and foremost, we’re looking at a device that’ll offer NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE+EDR and 802.11ac. In addition to support for Sprint’s network, the phone also carries certification for HSPA+ 21 Mbps over the 2100, 1900 and 850MHz bands, although the documentation specifically states that it’ll be SIM-locked for all US carriers. All in all, these are good signs of what’s to come. Now, if only Motorola could get on with the reveal.
We haven’t heard about Mirasol for a while now, but Qualcomm’s reflective display tech showed up in a few proof-of-concepts on the SID Display Week floor. We got a look at a previously announced 1.5-inch panel embedded on the top of an “always-on” smartphone and on the face of a smartwatch. Though a rep took care to emphasize that these were just mockups, he said the screen will soon show up in some third-party devices.
More interesting, though, was the company’s next-gen display: a 5.1-inch panel sporting a stunning 2,560 x 1,440 (577 ppi) resolution. Viewed up close, it delivers crisp images, but the reflective display kicks back a silvery tint and colors don’t pop as they do on other handsets. But while the sky-high pixel count may not tell the whole story, the screen offers one huge plus: a 6x power advantage over LCD and OLED displays. In practical terms, that means devices could go days without charging. Don’t expect to see this guy in your next smartphone, though: by “next-gen,” Qualcomm means this tech has a few more years in the R&D phase before it’ll be ready to hit a licensee’s production line. For now, make do with our hands-on video after the break.
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.
Sony’s 13.3-inch Digital Paper prototype sports E Ink’s Mobius flexible display, we go hands-on (video)
Sony’s new e-ink prototype is getting the test-drive treatment at Japanese universities, but SID provides a perfect opportunity to give the North American market a demo. We found the Digital Paper slab parked at E Ink’s booth — fitting, as the company’s new Mobius flexible display is the device’s biggest selling point.
At 13.3 inches, the panel is larger than your typical e-reader’s, but it weighs just 60 grams. That light footprint comes courtesy of E Ink’s TFT tech, which allows for larger, more rugged devices without the extra weight. The Digital Paper’s form factor matches the size of a sheet of A4 paper, and the on-board digitizer lets users scrawl notes on the electromagnetic induction touchscreen. Naturally, this is just one implementation of the E Ink’s display, but it’s neat to see a prototype in action nonetheless. Head past the break to do just that.
The biggest news of the day made its way out of Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters a few hours ago, but there’s plenty more to see just 150 miles to the north in Vancouver, British Columbia. SID’s Display Week exhibition kicked off this morning, giving us an opportunity to get hands-on with some pretty nifty prototypes from LG and Samsung, including that first manufacturer’s 5-inch flexible plastic OLED panel and a brilliant 3,200 x 1,800-pixel laptop display from the latter. We’ll be scouring the floor over the days to come, on the hunt for similar innovations, many of which will likely find their way into our smartphones, laptops and living rooms later this year and beyond.
Protip: Use our “SID2013” tag to see this week’s hottest Display Week news!
Filed under: Displays
With each subsequent console generation there’s an undercurrent of fear, a concern that this will be the cycle that finally kills off something many hold near and dear: the used game. Though these scratched-up disks and carts are often overprized and come with incomplete or unfortunately creased manuals, they’re still better value than the shrink-wrapped titles.
With the announcement of the current next-generation of consoles the discontent raised again. Is the axe about to drop on the used video game market? Is this the iteration that will prevent you from borrowing something from a friend? Not if Microsoft has anything to say about it. The Xbox One does support used games and it does support game sharing — but the details are in some cases a bit murky. Join us after the break for an exploration of what we know.