Xiaomi Teases Launch of Gaming Product at Tuesday Event 20/1

Xiaomi kicked off 2015 with the quiet launch of the Redmi 2 and this was soon followed by the Chinese company’s first major event that saw the launch of the new flagship phablet, the Mi Note, and the “even-better” Mi Note Pro alongside the Mi Headphones and Mi Box Mini.mi_3_xiaomi_fb_feed.jpg

Now, Xiaomi has teased another launch for Tuesday. The new teaser comes from Xiaomi’s gaming division and shows three rectangular boxes with a black background. Notably, the teaser image shared on the company’s Weibo account has a controller on top and what may be a game console alongside, tipping the launch might see the first Mi-branded console being unveiled. The teaser image includes a tagline that says, ‘Bigger is Better’.

Xiaomi’s speculated move to launch a gaming console appears to be plausible, considering that Chinese government last year lifted a ban from 2000 on gaming consoles.

Last year, Microsoft taking advantage of the lifted 14-year ban, launched its Xbox One game console in China. Sony is yet to follow, but has announced its intentions. It earlier this month delayed the January 11 launch of the PS4 console in China, without providing a reason and saying it would announced the new launch date in a separate notice.xiaomi_jan20_teaser_event_weibo.jpg

At the sidelines of Xiaomi’s big event last week, the company confirmed that it is all set to launch the Mi 4 flagship smartphone in India on January 28. Xiaomi’s Vice President of International Operations, Hugo Barra, announced an event in New Delhi on January 28, which tied in with India Head Manu Kumar Jain’s statement that theXiaomi Mi 4 would launch by the end of the month.

Considering that Xiaomi follows a customary Tuesday flash sale for its handsets in India, it is possible the Mi 4 will go on sale for the first time on February 3 via Flipkart.

Advertisements

Apple’s big bet on iOS 7 gaming to play out this fall

As iOS 7 rolls out to the public, anticipation builds for iPhone game controllers and apps optimized for the iPhone 5S’s A7 chip. It’s all part of Apple’s plan to keep the mobile gaming crown.

 

Epic Games subsidiary Chair Entertainment demoed the latest installment in the popular iOS series Infinity Blade onstage at the Apple iPhone event September 10.

There’s a good reason why a significant portion of Apple’s iPhone announcement last week was dedicated to showing off the flagship iOS game series Infinity Blade. That’s because with iOS 7 — rolling out to the public Wednesday — and the new A7 chip’s 64-bit architecture, Apple is signaling to the world that it’s dead set on remaining the preeminent mobile-gaming ecosystem.

iOS has long been the leader in that space thanks to its robust platform and the ease with which developers of all sizes — from single-app makers to triple-A studios with sprawling mobile suites — can monetize games. Game apps have heavily populated the most downloaded and highest grossing charts since the advent of the App Store and have launched entire studios to stardom, from Rovio with Angry Birds to King with Candy Crush.

Maintaining this edge means delivering not only full-blown Bluetooth controller support —initially announced at this year’s WWDC as part of Apple’s MFi (made for iOS) accessory certification — but urging developers to round out new hardware with top-notch apps that take advantage of the A7. Both strategies are well under way, and Apple is in a strong position to keep the mobile-gaming crown as it brings them to fruition this fall.

Apple has long had its sights set on making handheld gaming devices less appealing, a battle mobile apps have been winning. Apple’s success against traditional gaming has always hinged on whether or not it can convince iPhone owners that devices like the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Nvidia Shield cannot keep up with the pace of iOS game development and its impending hardware offerings.

Or, at the very least, that those devices are not worth the money. After all, why cast out large chunks of change on a Nintendo or Sony-owned gaming ecosystem, Apple logic goes, when one exists on your smartphone that’s steadily catching up to the gaming juggernauts?

While 64-bit smartphone chips will be flooding the market come next year — as well as updated and cheaper portable gaming devices — Apple is gunning to be there first, with developers at its side and a line of impressive controllers to boot. If it succeeds, it will be a battle already won.

Optimizing for the A7 has already begun
When iOS 7 goes public, game developers will have already optimized apps waiting for download. It makes sense too when you note that iOS adoption is typically quick and widespread. (One month after iOS 6‘s release last September, more than 60 percent of usershad installed the update.)

“The updated versions of Dungeon Hunter 4 and Playmobil Pirates have cleared Apple approval and are up on the iTunes store,” said Thomas Price, a representative for mobile game developer Gameloft. The studio also has a dozen more apps waiting for Apple approval, all optimized for the jump to 64-bit with the iPhone 5S and the more minute software tweaks present in the updated Game Center app.

More are on the way from a number of high-profile developers. At Electronic Arts, developers are taking advantage of the OpenGS ES 3.0 interface, a cross-platform API — currently supported only by the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, updated Nexus 7, and Sony Xperia Z — widely used for smartphone graphics rendering.

Schiller touted processor performance improvements in the iPhone 5S, which uses Apple's new A7 chip, but didn't detail which speed tests he was using.

Schiller touted processor performance improvements in the iPhone 5S, which uses Apple’s new A7 chip, but didn’t detail which speed tests he was using.

With the iPhone 5S, Apple joins that batch with the added benefit of being the only one of those smartphones to push a 64-bit processor.

“OpenGL ES 3.0 delivers stunning visual experiences, which will be immediately apparent on EA’s graphically rich 3D titles such as Real Racing 3 and Madden NFL 25, as well as FIFA 14 by EA SPORTS and Heroes of Dragon Age, which will launch this fall,” said Bernard Kim, SVP of Mobile Publishing at EA.

Developer Kabam, makers of the popular Facebook-integrated Kingdoms of Camelot series, is also prepping a number of updates for iOS 7.

“Kabam will release new game content for its most popular titles, including The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, and Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon,” said a company representative, though no timeline or specifics on the updates were made available. More notably however is Kabam’s plan to utilize iOS 7’s unique parallax effect — a pseudo-3D motion most recognizable in Apple’s new wallpapers — in its upcoming Heroes of Camelot title.

Leading the charge is Infinity Blade 3, which hits the App Store in tandem with iOS 7. Users won’t be able to access the graphical capabilities baked into the game that optimize for the A7 chip until they get their hands on an iPhone 5S (sales start September 20). Still, the graphical marketing push from both developer Epic Games and Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller last Tuesday shows that the iPhone maker wants the best and most aggressive mobile gaming advancements to take center stage on iOS.

 

iPhone controller on horizon, but questions remain
While new titles and app updates will be rolling out en masse following iOS 7’s release, don’t expect official controller announcements until right before the holiday season. Most models are in development right now, with expected unveilings estimated for late October and early November.

pic::Moga’s Pocket Controller for Android smartphones that illustrates just one variety of MFi controller that could hit Apple handsets this fall.

 

PowerA, makers of the Moga line of portable and console-style Android controllers, has iPhone controller announcements in the pipeline, though company representatives won’t say exactly when we’ll see our first iOS 7-optimized handheld or what it will look like.

It’s unclear whether the company’s current portable offering — an Xbox-style controller with a flip-out holster to fasten in your smartphone — will simply be ported over to iOS, or if we’ll see an entirely new Moga design. PowerA also offers a pro model in which the device mirrors the smartphone screen to a television through proprietary software. That’s an unlikely option with Apple given that a mirroring function conflict directly with the Apple TV’s AirPlay.

It’s also worth noting that the idea of controller support, despite piquing the interest of hardware makers and game developers alike, is a bit of a turnaround for Apple, who built its smartphone reputation with the launch of the original iPhone on a touchscreen that forgoes the need for physical buttons. But the company sees the value in competing with handhelds not just in experience with low-cost, easy-access apps, but in functionality. An A7 chip means near-console level performance capacity, making an add-on controller a no-brainer, especially if its of third-party make and Apple can test the waters by casually urging developers to add support.

Perhaps the most anticipated iOS controller is in the works at Logitech. The company made headlines in June when leaked images of early handset prototypes hit the Web and the hardware manufacturer confirmed its plans. Early concepts show a diverging design from PowerA wherein the iPhone is fitted inside a controller, turning the device into something akin to a PlayStation Vita.

“We’ll support Apple’s new MFi game controller framework, and plan to deliver a compelling gaming experience to iOS gamers this fall,” said a Logitech representative, though the company declined to elaborate further, as has been the case with many hardware manufacturers since WWDC.

But while the iPhone announcement and A7 unveiling have done little to tip the controller manufacturers into spilling more secrets — let alone try and speed up the delivery of the hardware — Apple is still sitting pretty at the forefront of the mobile gaming industry thanks to the marketing bump of the A7’s capabilities. It will only further its lead in the coming months with more and more iOS 7-optimized apps and the influx of new 5C and 5S devices running its latest software.

Integral to Apple’s lead is the developer-held mindset that iOS marks the cutting edge playground for the newest advancements in mobile gaming. It lets them optimize for the small subset of users who can enjoy the latest and greatest graphics and functionality while the widest audience — those with the current iPhone 5 and 4S — gain last year’s touted advancements in trickle-down fashion. The “rinse and repeat” annual iPhone strategy will continue to drive the iOS ecosystem’s role on this front.

“Important to gamers and game developers like Kabam, which has had four games among the top 25 grossing apps on the Apple App Store, the new interface provides a better game-playing experience,” Kabam’s CEO Kevin Chou said on September 10 as Apple unveiled the iPhone 5S. “And the new controller puts Apple at the forefront of bridging the ever-shrinking gap between consoles and iOS devices.”

Kabam may be bias toward Apple’s success, given its tied to the success of its own apps, but the point is still valid: The gap is shrinking, and iOS is up front by a wide margin.

Google Nexus 7 (2013) with 4G LTE hits Play Store in the US

google_nexus_7_new.jpg

 

 

Google’s latest Nexus 7 (2013) tablet with 4G LTE is now available through Google Play Store in US for $349 (Rs. 22,447 approximately).

Google announced the news on Twitter and also revealed that the Nexus 7 will come to T-Mobile stores in the U.S. next month. The tweet said, “Nexus 7 with 4G LTE is now available on Google Play in the US and is coming to US T-Mobile stores in October!” The new Nexus 7 LTE variant has arrived at the stores more than a month after the Wi-Fi variant of the Nexus 7 went on sale. Currently, the second-generation Nexus 7 comes with T-Mobile SIM. However, it comes unlocked that allows other carrier options on the tablet as well. However, there is no official word from Google on the device’s rollout to countries like India.

The search engine giant launched the second-generation Nexus 7 in July alongside the unveiling of the new Android 4.3 Jelly Bean platform.

The Nexus 7 (2013) comes with a 7-inch full-HD display (1920×1200 pixels), implying a boast-worthy pixel density of 323ppi. It also features scratch-resistant Corning glass. It is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, and features 2GB of RAM, apart from 32GB of inbuilt storage (with no SD card slot). The new Nexus 7 also features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.

Previously, the Nexus 7 (2013) was diagnosed with various issues, notably the erratic performance of multi-touch functionality on the tablet’s display. Google rolled out a firmware update for the Nexus 7 (2013), addressing many of these issues.

$199 game consoles aren’t worth the money you’re saving

Sony and Microsoft both offer stripped-down current-gen consoles for $199, but spending just a little more really can pay off.

 

 

The next-gen Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles are both coming in November. In the meantime, current-generation Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles are more affordable than ever — both available for the very reasonable sum of $199. But are these entry-level models so stripped-down that they’re a bad investment? Or are they a budget gamer’s dream?

The dilemma
It’s hard to imagine that anyone interested in buying an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 doesn’t already own one (it’s been a half-dozen years, people). That said, there’s still a lot of fun to be had. Both the Microsoft and Sony consoles have a huge library of excellent games, and both double as excellent full-on entertainment devices, thanks to streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video. And while the next-gen consoles beckon, they’re considerably more expensive — $499 for the Xbox One, $399 for the PS4 — and they’ll have a comparatively small handful of games available before the end of the year (no, you won’t be able to play 360 games on the One, nor PS3 games on a PS4).

So there’s good enough reason to get an “old” current-gen console. But each of the $199 versions is compromised enough that you should seriously consider paying the extra $50 to $100 for step-up models. Here’s how they both stack up

 

$199 PlayStation 3

 

The $199 PS3 officially hit the US this past week. Essentially, it’s identical to the 2012 superslim PS3, but it includes only 12GB of flash memory, rather than the 250GB to 500GB hard drive found on the more-expensive model. Unlike the very first version of the console from 2006, the current PS3 trades the original slot-loading drive for a sliding plastic disc drive cover, only has two USB ports, lacks memory card support, and offers no ability to play PS2 games.

None of those feature downgrades is a big deal, but the paltry 12GB of storage is. Download just a few games or some video content, and you’ll be stuck. I’m especially wary, as I’ve spent several afternoons clearing bulky old saved games and installed game content off my original first-gen PS3 hardware to free up a little hard-drive space.

On the other hand, DIYers with a spare eSATA hard drive on hand can drop it into the PS3 and upgrade the storage — so for some folks, the math may work (more on that option below).

Why you should avoid it: Very little onboard storage; next-gen PS4 coming in November; full 250GB bundles are only $50 more (see below).

Might be worth it: You can still install a standard HDD; smaller, lighter, and more power efficient than earlier versions.

 

 

$199 Xbox 360

 

The model formerly known as the Xbox 360 Arcade (because you were more likely to play lightweight Xbox Live Arcade games on it) is still kicking around for $199. With only 4GB of onboard storage, it reminds me of the original Xbox 360 hardware, where an entry-level model skipped the hard drive entirely, forcing you to rely on proprietary memory cards (one of which I still have kicking around somewhere just to show to people who forgot they ever existed).

Now in its third outer chassis, the latest Xbox 360 is slimmer and quieter than previous models. Like all current Xboxes, it includes built-in Wi-Fi, a feature missing from the 2005 original, but this setup drops the optical audio out found in every previous 360, and has one fewer USB ports for accessories (the optical audio is a big deal if you want to simultaneously send video via HDMI to a monitor and audio to a speaker system).

That paltry 4GB is hardly enough space to download much content at all. This model is good if you’re into streaming only (Netflix and the like) and if you’re using Xbox 360 cloud saves for your games. But both of them require the Xbox Live Gold plan, which will cost you another $60 per year.

Also, upgraders should note: unlike the PS3, which accepts an off-the-shelf laptop hard drive, the Xbox 360 requires a proprietary hard-drive module, as explained below. But at around $50, it can still represent something of a discount ($250-ish for the 4GB console plus hard drive) versus the $299 Xbox 360.

Why you should avoid it: Minuscule onboard storage; next-gen Xbox One coming later this year; loses the optical audio out of previous models; installing a larger HDD requires proprietary hardware; one less USB port; retail bundles can get you a lot more for an extra $50-$100.

Might be worth it: The upcoming Xbox One starts at a very expensive $499.

 

 

Reasonably priced upgrade options
If you think we’re trying to steer you away from the $199 versions of these consoles, you’d be right. That’s not just because both are about about to be forced into semi-obsolescence by newer hardware. If you shop around, you can actually get better versions of these budget consoles for just a little more.

I’d specifically point you toward this PS3 bundle available various places online, including Amazon, which combines a 250GB PS3, a copy of Uncharted 3 (available separately for $39), and a one-year subscription to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service (which normally costs $49), all for $249.

There’s no Xbox 360 deal that’s as good, but some retailers, including Walmart, offer $250 bundles that include two wireless controllers and your choice of a large list of games, including Halo 4, Tomb Raider, and Borderlands 2. For about $300, another Xbox 360 bundle includes a 250GB console and both Batman: Arkham City and Darksiders II.

In any case, there’s a good chance of further price drops when the new consoles are released in/around November, either from Microsoft and Sony, or from retailers looking to clear out old hardware in time for the holiday shopping season.

 

pic::This USB stick has four times the storage of the $199 Xbox 360.

 

Going the DIY route
There’s one case where the $199 version of each console may make sense, and that’s if you’re looking to invest a little more time and effort, and a little less money, into upgrading your hard drive to a more usable capacity. As noted previously, both the 12GB PS3 and the 4GB Xbox 360 have hard-drive slots you can utilize for additional storage. But the upgrade isn’t as simple as slapping a new drive in and powering up.

The new $199 PS3 can take just about any current off-the-shelf 2.5-inch hard drive, but you’ll need mounting hardware to fit in the current slimmer console chassis, which is sold separately and can run between $10 and $25. After that, installation is easy, and there are a ton of online tutorials to walk you through the process.

Upgrading the Xbox 360 is a little tougher. Microsoft would strongly prefer you to use its own semi-proprietary hard drive, which runs $99 for a 320GB model. You can use a handful of other third-party drives, but the list can be very specific, such as this model, which gives you 320GB for $48. Another alternative is to use an external USB key with your Xbox 360. Microsoft even sells an Xbox-branded one with 16GB of space for $15 (currently discounted from an insane original price of $59), or you can get a 32GB model, such as the SanDisc Cruiser, for under $25, but the latter option requires drive formatting. You can add up to 32GB of space this way, but some content, including music files and content from original Xbox games, don’t work via USB.

In either case, you should be comfortable swapping out hardware and formatting the new drive (mostly just some button presses and patience on your part). It’s up to you to calculate how the time and effort expended in our DIY solution translates to cold, hard cash, and if you’d be happier spending a little more for a console with a large hard drive already built in.

 

 

Nokia to unveil Windows RT tablet next month, says report

Equipped with a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, the tablet will be sold through AT&T in the U.S., reports The Verge

 

Will Nokia add a tablet to its lineup next month?

 

Will Nokia add a tablet to its lineup next month?

 

Nokia could take the wraps off a new Windows RT tablet in late September.

Citing “sources familiar with Nokia’s plans,” The Verge said on Friday that Nokia will reveal the tablet at a launch event in New York tentatively slated for September 26. A recent story from blog site Windows Phone Central said that Nokia will hold a two-day event in NYC on September 26 and 27.

Codenamed Vanquish, the tablet will be outfitted with Windows RT and powered by a Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. The device will support LTE and be carried by AT&T in the U.S., The Verge added.

Alleged photos of the Nokia tablet popped up Friday on Chinese site Digiwo. The snapshots show a red device with the Nokia name and the Windows RT logo. The Verizon name is also seen in the photos, meaning the tablet may be sold through both Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

Nokia has yet to reveal any specific details about a tablet but has admitted interest in the market.

In February, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said the company was looking “very closely” at tabletsbut had nothing to announce yet. In May, Jo Harlow, executive vice president of smart devices for Nokia, added: “We’re very interested in tablets and that’s an area we’re looking at.”

Responding to CNET’s request for comment, a Nokia spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on market rumors or speculation.

New Nexus 7 owners bump into multitouch issues

The tablet’s touch screen seems to go a bit haywire in response to more than one touch, an issue that Google says it’s investigating

The new Nexus 7.

The new Nexus 7 may be a bit out of touch when it comes to multitouch.

Several owners of Google’s new tablet say the screen doesn’t respond properly when they perform certain multitouch actions, such as pinching to zoom in or touching the screen with two fingers to move an item. Commenters posting on Google Groups and the XDA Developers forum over the past couple of weeks report a few related issues.

In some cases, pinching the screen causes surrounding items to jump around. In other cases, several attempts must be made to move an object successfully using multitouch. Some users also say the on-screen keyboard is buggy, registering a single tap as a double tap.

Some owners say they traded in their bad models for new ones, with mixed results.

Google apparently has confirmed the issue and is looking into it. Paul Wilcox, Google community manager for Android, posted the following response in the Google Groups thread: “The Android team is aware of this issue and investigating. I’ll post an update when there’s new information to share.”

The new Nexus 7 also has been beset with a GPS glitch that kills the connection after a certain number of minutes. Google reportedly is investigating that issue as well.

CNET contacted Google for comment and will update the story if further details are shared.

 

watch video here::http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MYGd7GFVqB0

 

 

iPhone 5C, fifth-generation iPad and iPhone 5S parts spotted in fresh, separate leaks

ipad5-newleak.jpg

 

While the purported low-cost iPhone (also referred to as the iPhone 5C) has made a number of online appearances, alleged pictures of the next generation iPad’s rear shell surfaced last week.

Following up on the previous rumours, Apple focused Japanese website Mac Otakara has published(via Sonny Dickson) two new videos of partially assembled low cost iPhone (iPhone 5C) and next-generation iPad.

The first video shows the front and back panel of the fifth-generation iPad assembled together. Interestingly, unlike the back panel that appeared in leaked pictures, last week, this one shows a transparent or translucent Apple logo similar to the one seen on MacBooks. The leaked images featured a case that had the Apple logo carved out.

 

watch video here::http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5Fhwkz6H9MU

 

 

The second video shows a similar assembly of the back and front panels of the alleged low-cost iPhone or iPhone 5C. It shows the same White coloured plastic back panel that we’ve seen several times. It also reaffirms that the phone’s front panel will be all black, similar to the image and video of the phone posted by Techdy in July.

 

watch video here ::http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QvrE5zZUoLk

 

New images featuring alleged iPhone 5S parts have also surfaced online courtesy Sonny Dickson. The parts include the nano-SIM tray and speaker button, flex cables for the home button, charger connector, Wi-Fi component, and speaker. However, there are no signs of a fingerprint scanner, support for which is said to be included in iOS 7.

As always, we’ll add that the leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt as there’s no way to verify the authenticity of the parts that appear in the video. Even if they’re authentic, they could be from internal prototypes of these devices and not the final versions.

Apple is expected to release the iPhone 5S, the next generation iPhone, along with the low-cost iPhone or iPhone 5C in fall with iOS 7. The new iPad and iPad mini are also expected to be released in the fourth-quarter.