Yahoo has just released a new Mail update for iOS and Android that integrates event and travel notifications within the app... whoa wait, why does that sound familiar? Another tech company with a name that starts with a G might have announced something similar earlier, but we're not entirely sure (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Kidding aside, the Today section in the Yahoo Mail app can now tell you if your flight's been delayed or canceled and give you directions to the airport: you can even call the airline or go straight to its website if you need to rebook, right from the app. When you visit a new area, you'll automatically get restaurant and attraction suggestions, replete with their Yelp reviews. Finally, if you're attending an Evite, Eventbrite or Ticketmaster event, the app will show you its details, along with directions on how to get to there. The update's already out on both iTunes and Google Play, but (unfortunately for most countries around the globe) the features are only available in the US for now.
[Image credit: Scott Schiller/Flickr]
A group of developers thought it would be fun to merge playground activities with mobile gaming -- so they did. They've created a system called Hybrid Play that lets kids (or adults, no judgment here) control games on their phones with see-saws, swing sets and other playground toys. To transform these outdoor playsets into big controllers, kids will have to clip the Hybrid Play sensor (above) onto their slides and merry-go-rounds. This sensor (which is dust- impact- and water-resistant) is powered by an Arduino microcontoller and equipped with accelerometers, gyroscopes, infrared and Bluetooth. It transforms real-life movements into signals sent to your phone, which the app then converts into virtual action. By the way, the system's iOS and Android apps will come loaded with a selection of games to choose from, but everyone can make their own, as it's an open-source project.
The Hybrid Play team's hoping to raise $140,000 via Indiegogo for hardware production, as well as for software and games development. Unfortunately, that means the earliest you can get a unit is in April 2015 (if you pledge at least $99 right now and only if the campaign reaches its goal), but you can already peek at the app and its games on Android.
Via: Engadget Spanish
Automakers like Subaru and Volvo have had automatic anti-collision braking for a while, but what if you're a Ford fan? You won't have to wait long. The Blue Oval has revealed that it's adding its own smart braking system (Pre-Collision Assist) as an option for new cars, starting with the 2015 Mondeo sedan's launch in Europe this year. The technology is familiar, but it should be enough to prevent or mitigate collisions during the daytime. A combination of a camera and radar helps recognize upcoming cars and pedestrians; the vehicle will warn you about potential accidents, and will also brake as much as necessary if it believes you're in imminent danger. While the assistant isn't a true substitute for a keen eye and quick reflexes -- at least, not right now -- it's good to have that additional safety net.
Filed under: Transportation
If you thought Denon's Heos wireless speakers were a little too similar in purpose to Sonos' range, you're not alone. Sonos has sued D&M Holdings (the company that owns Denon) for allegedly violating "at least" four patents. The audio gear maker accuses the Denon team of making "little to no effort" to distinguish its speakers -- while they look different and have more inputs, the core concept is supposedly the same. Sonos says it's only asking for Denon to come up with "new ideas," and won't chase after royalties if the two sides can reach an agreement. It's not clear whether or not Denon plans to fight back, but it tells VentureBeat that it takes the lawsuit "very seriously" and will have a full response soon.There is an argument to be made for similarity. Besides functionality, the Heos line even uses a similar naming scheme. However, the complaint also shows that Sonos is feeling the heat now that competitors like Samsung's Shape line and Pure's Jongo are plentiful; as the company says, there's seemingly a "new entrant every month." While there's no word on whether or not Sonos will take legal action against other rivals, its argument that there are multiple firms with "strikingly similar" audio products suggests that the Denon suit is just the tip of the iceberg.
Source: Sonos Blog
If you've ever wanted to cobble together a really wicked EDM track comprised mostly of sound bites from NASA's Mercury missions, well, now's your chance. Everyone's favorite beleaguered space agency has been posting a treasure trove of audio clips that span the space age to its SoundCloud account (just in time to post them in form of Twitter's new Audio Cards), and they're really worth a listen.
All of the old standbys -- Neil Armstrong's "One Small Step," JFK's "We choose the moon," Sputnik's lonesome beeping, Apollo 8's earnest Christmas greeting -- are present and accounted for. What's really neat are the bits from lesser-known chapters of the country's voyages into the cosmos, like the eerie radio emissions radiating from Saturn, and the sound of lightning crashing on Jupiter. And your author's personal favorite? A clip of Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad remarking that spacecraft could use "a little more all weather testing"... after it was struck by lightning on its way into orbit. Houston's only response? A rather bemused "Amen." Those were the days, no?
It's safe to say that you don't buy most Apple devices these days with the expectation that you can open them up, and it looks like the iPad Air 2 is no exception. Do-it-yourself repair shop iFixit has torn down the new tablet and found that it's even tougher (or at least, more expensive) to fix than its predecessor in a few respects. That bonded display may be great for cutting back on reflections, but it increases the risk of breaking the panel when you're prying things open -- and it'll cost more to replace if you do break it, since you can't separate the glass from the LCD. Problems from last year persist, too, such as the use of glue to hold seemingly everything together instead of clips or screws. Another change from its predecessor is the battery -- the 27.62 Wh unit is smaller than the original Air's 32.9 Wh capacity, although a more efficient design should keep battery life close between the two. Is any of this a deal breaker if you're set on getting an extra-slim iPad? Probably not, but it's something to consider if you normally prefer to fix gadgets at home instead of taking them back to the store.
So, you put in for the time off from work to hit December's PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas. The next logical step, of course, is buying tickets and come Friday you can do just that. As previously reported, a single day pass will set you back $50, and it's $90 for a two-day ticket to get in Sin City's Venetian Hotel. In a video on the PlayStation Blog, the outfit touts some "400,000 square feet of PlayStation" will be open to the public in addition to showing brief snippets of footage from The Order: 1866 and what looks like the follow-up to Dark Souls, Bloodborne. So those are likely two of the games you'll get some hands-on time with if you attend. What else is going on there? Panels with developers and Sony employees and such, including Capcom's Yoshinori Ono, who's perhaps best known for his work on the Street Fighter series. Feel like playing gumshoe for more clues? The teaser clip below should provide ample opportunities.
Source: PlayStation Blog
If you're hooked on Xbox Music's free desktop-based listening, you're going to have make some backup plans very shortly. Microsoft has announced that it's dropping the no-cost web and Windows streaming option as of December 1st; after that, you'll have to pay for a Music Pass if you want all-you-can-eat tunes beyond the 30-day trial period. The company claims that it's refocusing Xbox Music to make it the "ultimate music purchase and subscription service," although it's not elaborating on what that entails. Suffice it to say that Microsoft has a lot of competition in the free music space. Its main rival, Spotify, has over 30 million free users worldwide on a wider range of platforms -- it wouldn't be easy for Microsoft to challenge that lead using the free tier you know today.
Source: Xbox Support (sign-in required)
Xiaomi's a force to be reckoned with in China -- its new phones routinely sell out online in seconds -- but its influence is steadily growing outside its native home. That's why the company's infrastructure has been quietly shifting these past few months, and VP/former Googler Hugo Barra pulled back the curtain on what Xiaomi's been up to. Long story short: it's moving user data around the world, not only to make sure its services work better, but also to better protect its users' information.
Some of the changes Xiaomi enacted are purely prosaic: it's moving its e-commerce platform to Amazon data centers in California and Singapore so the site runs faster. Great! Of course, there's something more crucial to Xiaomi's future than making sure its website loads quickly. We're talking about privacy here, and Xiaomi doesn't exactly have a spotless track record when it comes safeguarding user info.
Finnish security firm F-Secure learned earlier this year that some Xiaomi phones relayed sensitive information like phone numbers and device identifiers back to company servers in China (in plain text, no less). Xiaomi quickly addressed the issue, but it was still enough to spook some curious players around the world. Take India, for instance - Xiaomi pulled off a very successful (if quiet) launch there, selling 40,000 phones in a hair over four seconds in early September. Earlier this week, though, The New Indian Express reported that the Indian Air Force has been cracking down on the use of Xiaomi phones because of their habit of relaying information back to China. Similar concerns caused the Taiwanese government to conduct its own investigation on Xiaomi phones, though officials haven't yet published their results.
Xiaomi's great data shift might be the right answer at the right time. Barra noted that international users' data would no longer live in Beijing -- instead, it'll be stored on Amazon servers in Oregon and Singapore, far away from the Chinese government's curious eyes. If Xiaomi's really going to grow into the global giant it clearly wants to be, it has to do pull of the greatest feat of them all: it has to make the world's potential customers trust it. The move won't be done until later this year, but still -- it's a very clear step in the right direction.
Filed under: Mobile
Source: Hugo Barra (Google+)
What's stopping you from creating the first killer Kinect 2.0 hack? Well, now that Microsoft's released the do-all sensor's SDK to the public for free you don't have many more excuses. The software development kit is available without any fees and what's more, you can now put any finished apps up for sale on the Windows Store as well. Just like that! To help developers along even further, Redmond is releasing an adapter that makes the Xbox One Kinect play nicely with a Windows 8 PC. Meaning, they won't have to use a hack to create a hack (or buy a redundant Windows Kinect). The $50 USB 3.0 dongle not only brings price parity between the two previously separate cameras, but it's another instance of Microsoft reversing a previous hardline policy to better suit its customers too. Now, get out there and get cracking -- the hardware giant already has a head start on you.
Update: Developer Ubi Interactive, known for large-screen gesture control installations, has posted a trio of brief, new videos demoing some fresh uses for the Kinect 2.0. We've embedded them below.
Source: Official Microsoft Blog