Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Xbox One Revealed


Yesterday at the Xbox Reveal event, Microsoft revealed the new console called XBOX One.

It's a cloud-based home-entertainment console sporting an improved Kinect camera, along with a redesigned controller with a new d-pad and integrated battery compartment.


Design

Sharp corners and clean lines makes XBOX One a sleek, modern console that complements any decor. The controller is also redesigned. The two analog sticks have ridges instead of bumps. The start and back buttons are now replaced with menu and app switcher buttons.

Specifications

XBOX One is powered by a 8-core x86 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Graphics is provided by AMD, has a Blu-ray drive with USB 3.0, HDMI in/out support. However, XBOX One is not backwards compatible with XBOX 360 Discs.

Games

Activision already stated at the end of the teaser trailer for Call of Duty Ghosts that the game will be available for XBOX One. EA introduces FIFA, NBA Live, Madden & UFC. Obviously, Microsoft Studio's Halo 4 will also be available for XBOX One.
Other games announced include Max Payne, Alan Wake & Forza Motorsport 5.

Availability

The Xbox One will be available in Q4 2013. More details on pricing will be announced at E3 2013.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Google I/O 2013 Roundup


Google I/O - Google's annual conference kicked off with some exciting announcements. It is the most anticipated event of this year. For Google, this was a big day to unveil the company's future plans.

Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra started the Google I/O 2013 keynote, in which many new features and updates to Google's services and offerings were announced.

Take a look at the announcements made at the keynote -

Android & Google Play 

  • Google announced 900 million Android activations in total and 48 billion apps downloaded from Google Play store.

  • Google Play Services updated to bring new APIs (Google Maps and Location) and a cross platform Google+ sign in feature to easily sign in to various services using Google credentials. Also, the Google Cloud Messaging service is now a part of Google Play Services. Google Play game services introduced with Cloud save, achievements, leaderboard & multiplayer.

  • New Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called Android Studio announced for Android Developers to build Android apps.

  • Google Play Developer Console updated to include optimization tips, app translation service, usage metrics, revenue graphs & beta testing.

  • Google Play Music All Access - Music subscription service that plays music depending upon the user's liking. Google Play Music All Access is priced at $9.99 / month (US) with a 30 day free trial.

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition - Android Product Management Vice President Hugo Barra announced the new version of Samsung Galaxy S4 with a stock Android user interface. The version will be directly available on Google Play in the US from 26th June for $649.


Chrome & Chrome OS

  • Support for WebGL in Chrome for tablets.

  • All Google I/O attendees got a new Chromebook Pixel as a gift.

Google+

  • New Google+ user interface for web.

  • New Google+ Hangouts stand alone app for Android.

  • New features in Google+ Photos introduced like tonal distribution, skin softening, noise reduction, white balancing, sharpening, vignette, structure, red eye removal and more.

Google Search

  • Google Now updated with new set of cards for public transit, books, music albums, tv shows, video games and reminders.

  • Reminders feature of Google Now lets you set reminders which will remind you at the right place at the right time.

  • 'Hot wording' feature for Google search on the web lets you search the web without typing. Just start by saying “Ok Google” and it will know that you're about to ask a question.

Google Maps

  • Google previews next version of Google Maps for iOS and Android, including an iPad app coming this summer.

  • New suggestion engine to help you find relevant places nearby.

  • New features like incident reporting and traffic-rerouting.

  • New version of Google Maps for the web.

  • WebGL is used to augment the new views and produce a more interactive and detailed imagery.

At the end of the keynote, CEO Larry Page came to the stage and shared some personal stories and his views on the importance of technology followed by Q&A.

Watch the recorded Google I/O 2013 keynote here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Blackberry Z10 Review


Blackberry's market share has been declining over the past few years as the likes of Android and iOS have aggressively taken over the smartphone market. The company is trying to revive its declining fortunes with a new range of smartphones featuring a brand new BB10 operating system. The first among them is the Z10, the company's flagship smartphone which brings along a capable package suitable for high-end users. Let us review this fabulous handset.

Design

Blackberry phones have never been known for their design as the company stuck to its tried and tested QWERTY smartphones which gave more importance to functionality than styling. However, with the Z10, the company has never a step in the right direction by coming up with a design that looks attractive without compromising on the functionality. The phone has an understated and clean design which will certainly not win any design awards, but will impress most of the users thanks to its simplistic nature and the comfort it offers while handling. It has a plastic casing with a removable back panel that measures 130 x 65.6 x 9 mm and tips the weight scales at 137.5 grams. On the top side, there's the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power key, while the right side is occupied by the volume rocker. The microUSB port and the microHDMI port are present on the left edge. Overall, the Z10 might not overwhelm you on first glance, but it certainly works thanks to its clean and sleek design.

Display

The 4.2-inch LCD display at the front of the Blackberry Z10 sports a resolution of 1280 X 768, which leads to a pixel density of 356 ppi. The colors reproduction, viewing angles, brightness levels and sunlight legibility of the screen is excellent and will impress most users. Since the OS relies on gestures and touches, it is extremely important that the touchscreen is responsive and Blackberry has managed to that quite well. The display registers touches, swipes extremely quickly without any issues.

Camera

The Blackberry Z10 has an 8 megapixel autofocus camera along with an LED flash on its rear side. The sensor manages to capture excellent images in outdoor conditions during day time. However, the quality is quite average in low light conditions and during night time. Most of the standard settings and features are available in the camera interface. The best among them being the TimeShift mode, which captures a series of photos before and after you tap on the shutter key. Users can then scroll through these images and choose the best image for saving. The primary camera also records videos of HD 1080p at the rate of 30 frames per second. The secondary front-facing camera has a 2 megapixel sensor and it supports 720p@30 fps video recording.

Performance

Inside, the Blackberry Z10 has a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running at 1.5 GHz, Adreno 225 graphics processor and 2 GB of RAM. The performance of the phone is very good due to the heavy optimization on the software front. Users will be able to move through menus, switch apps, multi-task, etc. with ease without experiencing slowdowns. However, since the OS is quite new and hence is prone to bugs which cause the phone to hang-up sometimes.

Software

The BB10 OS running on the Z10 marks the rebirth of Blackberry as the company shifts its focus to a more touch-friendly and feature-rich software approach. The new operating system does away with the traditional navigation of other platforms like iOS and Android but instead is built around gestures. The main feature is the Blackberry Hub which contains all your messages, e-mails and social updates. It's pretty awesome as you can read, delete and reply to all your messages from a one-stop location with ease. The phone also offers apps like Remember, Blackberry Maps, Twitter, Facebook, Browser, Linkedin, Foursquare and much more.

Conclusion

The Z10 marks a new era for Blackberry, as it is a totally different smartphone compared to the earlier handsets from the company. It's beautiful and runs a software which is smooth and feature-rich. Unfortunately, the OS doesn't bring any new features to the table except the new gesture-based UI. Also, the hardware seems a bit outdated compared to the new flagship phones like the HTC One and Galaxy S4. That said, the Z10 is a great start and Blackberry fans will find it hard to resist.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Call of Duty : Ghosts Officially Revealed


Activision recently released a teaser trailer for the new game in Call of Duty series - Call of Duty : Ghosts (see below). The teaser is a live-action trailer, titled "Masked Warriors". It features glimpses of people wearing historical battle attire, among them one of a group of soldiers putting on the skull mask.

Infinity Ward is developing this game with an all new engine.  It will feature all-new characters, story, and experience. Call of Duty : Ghosts will be released on November 5th 2013 for Microsoft Windows, Playstation & Xbox.

We will get to see more of Ghosts at the Xbox Reveal event on 21st May 2013.
Till then, watch the trailer and tell us what you think in the comments section below :)

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

LG Optimus G Review

Over the past few years, LG has not managed to deliver a flagship smartphone which could match the popularity of the Galaxy series flagship phones. But now, the company is trying to make a comeback with the Optimus G, a powerful and stylish Android smartphone which has a package that can match up against any smartphone available in the market. Let us find out more about this handset in our review.


Design

The LG Optimus G has a simple design, yet it manages to stand-out in the crowd thanks to its glass covered body and gorgeous HD display at the front. The edges are covered with a stainless steel rim which looks great and feels nice in the hand. Despite being large, the phone does not pose any major problems when you are operating it, thanks to its clean lines and rounded corners. As far as control keys and ports are concerned, you'll find the power key on the right and the volume rocker on the left. The top edge is occupied by the 3.5 mm audio jack whereas the microUSB slot is available at the bottom edge. The phone doesn't have a removable back panel so you won't be able to access the battery. All in all, LG has managed to put together a smartphone that is attractive as well as robust.

Display

The LG Optimus G offers a 4.7 inch IPS LCD display built with ZeroGap touch technology which means all the layers are laminated together to reduce glares and provides a top-notch viewing experience. The screen is protected from scratches by Corning Gorilla Glass and has a true HD resolution of 768 x 1280 pixels. As far as the picture quality is concerned, the display offers rich and realistic colors, crisp whites and excellent viewing angles. However, sunlight legibility is average compared to its competitors.

Performance

LG Optimus G runs extremely fast thanks to a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and 2 GB of RAM. The phone doesn't suffer from any lag or slowdowns even while executing high performance tasks like multi-tasking. The battery is a 2100 mAh non-removable unit which offers up to 13 hours of talk time. In terms of everyday usage, moderate users should be able to get through a work day with ease on a single charge. The internal memory available is 32 GB, but since the phone doesn't have a removable back cover, there is no microSD card available to expand capacity.

Camera

LG has included a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera on the Optimus G. In well-lit surroundings, the primary snapper provides stunningly sharp photos and videos, but like most smartphone cameras the quality deteriorates in low light conditions or during night time. Nonetheless, users will be able to capture 4320 x 3240 pixels and record videos of 1080p at 30 frames per second which is as good as it gets. The secondary camera also supports full HD video recording of 1080p so you'll be able to make video calls in high definition.


Software

The LG Optimus G arrives with Android v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which has been skinned with LG Optimus user interface v3.0. The UI has a lot of additions like custom effects, bright colors, unique icons, etc. which give the phone's software a distinct look compared to the stock Android version. LG has also added a feature called QSlide which makes multi-tasking easy by allowing you to view three apps all at the same time. Overall, users will be quite happy with the software of the phone.

Verdict

The Optimus G is undoubtedly one of the best phones manufactured by LG. It has a gorgeous design, large and vivid display, and packs in an impressive set of hardware under its hood which makes it a great choice for users looking for a top-tier Android smartphone.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any major advantages over the current stars in the market like – the Galaxy S4, Nexus 4, Xperia Z or HTC One, which might work against it. That said, LG’s latest smartphone suggests we can expect better things from the company in the near future.

 
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