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Sony Shears PS4's Price
October 12, 2015
Sony last week knocked $50 off the price of the PS4, putting it on par with the $349 Xbox. A cost cut also went into effect in Canada, where the price dropped from the recommended CA$449.99 to $429.99. Touting upcoming multiplatform games Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront, SCEA CEO Shawn Layden said there never has been a better time to pick up the PS4.
Common Bonds: Jobs, Torvalds and Bad Behavior
October 12, 2015
I can understand Linux in the 1990s. It was backed largely by folks who didn't do well with others. The fights between the Linux and BSD folks were both legendary and juvenile, and Linux's existence seemed defined entirely by the revolt against Microsoft. Now, though, the platform is mainstream, and there's a huge effort by some of its corporate supporters to bring more women into technology.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
Amazon Banishes Apple and Google Streamers
October 5, 2015
Amazon last week said it planned to stop selling streaming devices from rivals Apple and Google. A pillar of its Prime ecosystem, Prime Video, was incompatible with Apple TV and Google's Chromecast, the company suggested. It made the decision to "avoid customer confusion," according to a company statement. Other devices with streaming capabilities would continue to be available, the company said.
Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering.
TiVo Bolt Zaps Ads
October 1, 2015
TiVo on Wednesday urged users to give commercials the finger with its Bolt set-top box, which allows ad-skipping on some shows. The Bolt is available immediately online, and it will show up on store shelves this weekend. It comes in 500-GB and 1-TB versions, priced at $300 and $400, respectively, inclusive of one year of service. After that, users will pay $150 a year for the service.
New Sonos Speaker Costs $500 but New Smart Tuner Is Free
September 30, 2015
Sonos has unveiled a new version of its top-of-the-line Play:5 speaker, which includes three mid-woofers and three tweeters. It can be set up in three orientations: by itself, or paired with another speaker -- either vertically for tight sound, or horizontally for a more immersive experience. Sonos also introduced Trueplay, an iOS app for tuning its wireless speakers to a room's acoustic profile.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
Samsung Gear VR to Test Virtual Reality's Mass Appeal
September 28, 2015
Samsung last week unveiled a consumer version of a virtual reality headset adapter that converts Samsung smartphones into head-mounted displays. The move represents a first strike -- ready or not -- as top tech industry players begin to push virtual reality hardware into consumer markets. Samsung and partner Oculus VR have imparted several improvements to the consumer version of Gear VR.
GameStop Swims Against the Digital Download Tide
September 22, 2015
GameStop has signaled resistance to the trend of bundling game consoles with digital downloads rather than physical copies of games. The company ships more than half of all PlayStation 4 and Xbox One software. GameStop worked with its partners to sell the physical version of Madden 16 in its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One bundles, Chief Operating Officer Tony Bartel recently told investors.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Pokémon GO Steps on the Mobile AR Gas
September 17, 2015
Nintendo and The Pokémon Company teamed up with Niantic on an augmented reality project, complete with a wearable Poké Ball that just might be the next best thing to filling Pokédex with pocket monsters. Pokémon GO players will have the opportunity to catch, trade and battle Pokémon characters wandering the wilds of the real world when the game launches next year.
Trust and Value Will Bring IoT Home
September 17, 2015
The connected car and smart home markets are at an early stage of development, but in many ways they have been growing in parallel. Both markets are enabled by the falling costs of sensors, networking technologies and data, as well as by expanded cloud services, the mass penetration of smartphones, and consumer demand for the connected lifestyle. These ecosystems now are beginning to converge.
Devs Shine Light on Halo 5's Overhauled Engine
September 17, 2015
Weeks away from the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries and Microsoft have revealed some of the technical ingenuity behind what's expected to be the biggest Xbox One game of the 2015 holiday season. The game's developers have been raving about their playtime with the upcoming sci-fi shooter. For starters they're promising first-class digital tourism in Halo 5: Guardians.
Nintendo Inaugurates New President
September 15, 2015
Tatsumi Kimishima emerged as president of Nintendo, following a meeting of the board held Monday. Kimishima, 65, has taken up the positions of representative director and president. Taking the seat of beloved Satoru Iwata, who earlier this year died from cancer, Kimishima now holds the reins of a company that has been preparing to push several bold new initiatives.
Apple Levels up with tvOS
September 10, 2015
The refreshed Apple TV, tvOS and the Siri Remote Apple presented during Wednesday's "Hey Siri" event may not have been game changers, but the people pushing Apple's renewed focus on gaming are. Television's future lies in apps, proclaimed Apple CEO Tim Cook as he drew the curtain on the Apple TV's new iOS 9-powered operating system: tvOS. That line drew a chuckle from owners of Fire TVs and Rokus.
New Apple TV Goes All-In for Apps
September 9, 2015
Apple on Wednesday held a mammoth two-hour event to introduce a long-awaited new Apple TV set-top box, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the expected iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Further, Apple announced new Apple Watch colors and bands, and a special collaboration with Hermes. While the iPhone is clearly Apple's most important product, it's arguable that the Apple TV is its most important new addition.
Apple, Hollywood Honchos Put Heads Together
September 8, 2015
Apple has been mulling a move to commission original programming for its Apple TV, and top Hollywood decision makers reportedly have been helping with the strategizing. Although in-the-know execs spilled a few beans, they didn't paint a cohesive picture of Apple's plans. Some suggested Apple was just flirting with the idea, while others hinted that it might be planning a major undertaking.
Apple TV Should Take a Hint From Nvidia's Shield
September 7, 2015
Apple will be launching some interesting products on Wednesday. The timing is nearly right for its Intel Skylake laptops and PCs. The iPhone 6S is also due, and typically the smart Apple customers wait for the S, because S models have fixes to the earlier model's problems that most annoyed users. At the very least, the iPhone 6S is expected to avoid its predecessors' bending issues.
Xbox One Elite Bundle Conquers Space
September 1, 2015
Microsoft on Monday unveiled a new version of its Xbox One console. The Xbox One Elite Bundle includes the console, with a 1-TB drive that fuses the performance of flash memory with the economy of a hard disk, and a new Elite wireless controller. The controller is fully customizable, with interchangeable paddles, hair-trigger locks, and high-performance construction, the company said.
Amazon's Underground Unshackles Freemium Android Apps
August 31, 2015
Amazon last week freed a selection of Android apps of the in-app payment requirements necessary to enjoy them to their fullest. The value of the goodies in the apps labeled "Actually Free" comes to more than $10,000, Amazon said. The Actually Free apps can be accessed via Underground, a new app available from Amazon. Amazon Underground is essentially an expansion of the company's core mobile shopping app.
Apple TV May Finally Grab the Spotlight
August 31, 2015
The next version of the Apple TV set-top box could be ready for prime time in October, priced at either $149 or $199, based on rumors circulating Monday. The current version goes for $99. With the higher price could come a seriously upgraded device: It will include support for Siri, a new touchscreen remote control, and a new and more intuitive interface.
Come September, Apple TV Will Outshine the iPhone
August 29, 2015
About Apple's September event... Apple's annual September media event is an oxymoron -- it's become almost entirely predictable. One year it introduces a major new iPhone redesign and the next it offers incremental iPhone improvements. And make no mistake about it, despite last year's Apple Watch debut, at the core of the September event is the critically important iPhone.
YouTube Opens Video Game Floodgates
August 27, 2015
It's alive! YouTube Gaming, a hub that's home to over 25,000 video game pages, on Wednesday began broadcasting live and on-demand streams, let's play videos and the like. The gaming hub is accessible on desktop PCs, and on Android and iOS devices. YouTube's new hub is likely to offer a serious challenge to Twitch, the video game streaming service Amazon bought last year.
Wii U to Become Pokken Tournament Playing Field
August 25, 2015
Nintendo and The Pokemon Company last week announced that Pokken Tournament -- the Pokemon fighting game developed by Namco Bandai -- will expand from arcades in Japan to a worldwide launch on the Wii U in the spring of 2016. Instead of just issuing commands to use special attacks, players of the fighting game can direct the blows their Pokemon deliver.
Intel: Putting Innovation Back in the Hands of the Innovators
August 24, 2015
We are living in an amazing time, but many of us seem to take it for granted. We have private spaceships. Self-driving cars are on the road, even though we can't buy them yet, and there are plans for a 12-mile-high inflatable building. Granted, a number of us are convinced it will end up looking like a giant version of the inflatable fan blown stick man often seen outside of car dealerships.
Spotify's 'Sorry' Fails to Cut Through Confusion
August 22, 2015
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek on Friday issued a public apology for poor communications regarding the company's new privacy policy. The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
Everybody Can Run - Not Walk - to the Rapture
August 12, 2015
With the post-apocalyptic adventure game Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, Sony may have a cult classic on its hands. The PlayStation 4 exclusive became available Tuesday. The Chinese Room, a game development studio that previously worked exclusively on PC and Mac titles, developed Everybody's Gone to the Rapture with the support of Sony and SCE's Santa Monica Studio.
Why Jon Stewart Failed
August 10, 2015
Like a lot of folks, I'm starting to go through withdrawals because The Daily Show with Jon Stewart dropped off the air last week. It is kind of amazing that it was how a massive number of us actually kept up on the news, given it wasn't a real news program. However, while the show was a commercial success, it appeared that wasn't its only goal.
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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.