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By August 11, 2015 Read More →

And Google is now Alphabet

Screenshot 2015-08-11 at 11.12.32It comes as a bit of a shock this morning that Google is getting a bit of a reshuffle. Announcing this on the Google blog post today, Larry Page, the current CEO of Google, is declaring a full re-organisation of Google, bringing in Sundar Pichai as the new CEO of Google.

Each of Google’s core business (Search, Advertising, Maps, YouTube, and Android) will be called Google and the rest (Google Ventures, Google Capital, Google X, Life Sciences, and Calico, Google Fiber, Nest and others will become individual businesses with their own leaders reporting to a holding company called Alphabet — and that will become the company’s new name.

Larry will be taking up CEO duties of the newly formed umbrella company named Alphabet (http://abc.xyz)

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.

Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.

For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google — the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products–the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.

 

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By August 5, 2015 Read More →

Creative launch pro gaming audio gear

LS_BlasterX_H5_Mood ShotCreative Technology Ltd today announced at Gamescom 2015 the Sound BlasterX Gaming Series, a new line of gaming audio peripherals designed for today’s generation of discerning gamers.

Gaming content in this day and age encompasses immensely compelling graphics, expansive environments and incredibly detailed audio, akin to a full cinematic experience, delivered on multiple platforms, from mobile, to consoles and PCs. Famous for pioneering gaming audio on PCs and launching the multimedia revolution with the Sound Blaster line of sound cards, Creative continues to innovate and improve the gaming audio experience for today’s gamers. The Sound BlasterX line is committed to upgrading a user from “good enough” audio to the full cinematic experience that discerning gamers of today are looking for, wherever they are playing. The series is comprised of circumaural (over-the-ear) and in-ear headsets, and an external USB sound card with a built-in amplifier to provide gamers with a durable, complete, high-performance, high-definition gaming audio solution that is built to last.

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Each product in the Sound BlasterX series is designed to deliver pristine aural performance and maximum comfort while levelling up a gamer’s overall experience by producing sound on par with today’s advanced graphics and game storytelling.

“Think about when you go to the movies – you go for the big screen, sometimes the 3D element, and cinematic sound. Movies wouldn’t be the same without perfectly timed sound effects, and that’s what many of today’s gamers are missing out on with their overall experience – the nuances that will determine win or lose – and they might not even realize it by settling for basic audio solutions. The graphics and storylines of today’s games are the best they have ever been and for audio details to match that requires something much more than basic motherboard audio or run-of-the-mill gaming headsets. With Sound BlasterX, we have a renewed focus on building gaming audio products that last and are designed to elevate gaming audio to complement the astounding graphics found in today’s games. We’re taking gaming from a desktop experience, to a cinematic experience. Once you hear the difference a BlasterX product makes in your games, there’s no going back to mediocre basic audio,” said Low Long Chye, General Manager of Audio at Creative.

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The Sound BlasterX Gaming Series comprises of:

  • Sound BlasterX H7 – the ultimate HD 7.1 Surround USB circumaural gaming headset
  • Sound BlasterX H5 – the professional-grade analog circumaural gaming headset
  • Sound BlasterX P5 –  a miniature yet powerful high-performance in-ear gaming headset  
  • Sound BlasterX G5 – a 7.1 HD audio external sound card with built-in headphone amplifier

With this line of peripherals, Sound BlasterX offers a range of high-performance cross-platform gaming audio solutions for gamers – whether on PCs, mobile devices or consoles.

“As gamers, we’re extremely excited about the all new the Sound BlasterX Pro-Gaming Series,” said Jason Bass, COO of compLexity Gaming. “When we tested the products, we were amazed by the performance, build quality, how comfortable they were, and most of all, their signature sound. In fact, the team felt that the headsets resembled studio monitors. The headsets delivered amazingly accurate audio and were so comfortable that we felt as if we were wearing nothing at all.”

 The gaming headsets are tuned to enhance the listening experience and not to overwhelm. The entire Sound BlasterX range allows gamers to experience an amazing level of detail while being immersed in the gaming experience for extended hours without listening fatigue. The Sound BlasterX series of products offer a best in class audio solution for gamers with different usage preferences. Audio quality and clarity, comfort and durability are important no matter what level gamers are gaming at and the Sound BlasterX series cater to both the pro and casual gamers.

Product_BlasterX_P5

The Sound BlasterX Gaming Series also comes with the BlasterX Acoustic Engine software for PC that allows gamers to customize their audio profile to the game genres that they are playing. It is designed to intelligently decrease distractions and enhance essential audio details in games, giving gamers an added advantage.

The recently launched Sound Blaster X7 with its companion E-MU XM7 professional speakers, offers an ultra high-end gaming audio solution that completes the Sound BlasterX Gaming Series. This biggest, baddest, boldest Sound Blaster delivers an astounding 24-bit/192kHz high resolution audiophile experience for the ultimate gamer.

More details of the Sound BlasterX H7 and Sound BlasterX H5, the Sound BlasterX P5, and the Sound BlasterX G5 will be announced in separate press releases.

Pricing and Availability

The Sound BlasterX gaming series is priced as follows:

  • Sound BlasterX H7 – GBP129.99
  • Sound BlasterX H5 – GBP99.99
  • Sound BlasterX P5 – GBP59.99
  • Sound BlasterX G5 – GBP119.99
By August 3, 2015 Read More →

Sony Xperia M5 is official

xperia-m4-aquaSony have announced an impressive spec list for the Sony Xperia M5. An ad on youtube helps illustrate the good looking phone and we have dug around the net to find out as much as we can about what’s inside. Some are a little scepticale of the Mediatek processor however they have been coming along leaps and bounds in recent years. It’s refreshing to see Sony adding a little warning that of the 16gb  ROM 10 gb will be available to the user.

 

Here is what we have gleened from around the web: 

Display and design

  • 5″ Full HD (1920×1080 pixels)

Processor

  • MediaTek Helio X10 (MT6795)
  • 64-bit 2.0 GHz Octa-core processor
  • IMG Rogue G6200

Memory & Storage

  • 3 GB RAM
  • Up to 16 GB flash memory
  • Up to 200 GB microSD™ card

Camera and video

  • 21.5 megapixel Exmor RS with Hybrid AF
  • 5x Clear Image Zoom
  • 4K video recording
  • HDR for photos and videos
  • 13 megapixel front-facing camera, FHD 1080p for video capture
  • Sony Exmor RS™ for mobile image sensor

Battery

  • non-removable 2600mAh 

The Xperia™ M5 has 10 GB of free memory available to the user for downloaded applications

http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-m5/specifications/

Find out more about the Xperia M5: http://www.sonymobile.com/xperiam5/ 

Posted in: News, Phones
By July 31, 2015 Read More →

The Canon camera with an ISO of 4,000,000

aoeinopkgkx09pchnjuaCanon has recently announced a new multi-purpose camera known as the ME20F-SH. This specificaly designed camera has a novel featuring allowing the user to capture full HD colour video in pitch black conditions using an ISO of 4,000,000. An ISO of this scale is off the chart for current cameras, utilising a full-frame 35mm CMOS sensor packing just 2.26 megapixels. In addition to this the camera also increases the size of each pixel up to 19μm (5.5x larger than a high-end DSLR) to allow more light to be captured.

The potential for Security, a wild life photographer, explorer and even deep sea diving is extreme. This will allow shooting in persistently dark conditions.

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By July 29, 2015 Read More →

The OnePlus 2 is here

op2The OnePlus One was a notable success and the logical sequel has just arrived. Whilst most probably are not aware of the launch, or even of the line as some mainstream media where not even aware of the OnePlus One in their articles, the OnePlus Two marks a handsome step towards reducing the price of a flagship phone and delivering what you need on the go. Due to be released on August 11 in two flavours, a £239 16GB version and £289 64GB top end model, the latest OnePlus phone have taken tips from LG and are pumping up the RAM for the highend variant from 3GB to 4GB. 

 The OnePlus 2 sports with an attractive 5.5-inch LCD display at 1080p and whilst not pushing screen tech buzz words like Retina 401 pixels is a respectable count even if it does forgo 4K. This is housed a body with a smaller bezel however it is a little fatter than before with dimensions on 74.9 x 151.8 x 9.85mm and it now weighs a heavier 175g instead of 162g. The OnePlus 2 runs Android, however more specifically, OxygenOS. An Android hybrid, rebuilt by OnePlus that features a lot of customised additions.

OnePlus 2 uses the admittedly problematic Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor backed by the Adreno 430 GPU running graphics processor, two nano SIM card slot, a bigger, non-removable battery and a better camera. A USB Type C port and charger that allows for reversible USB input and included cable. OnePlus have dropped the microSD card slot and this will be a big annoyance for those with the 16gb model eventually.

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Rob Kerr, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, says:

“Its features rival today’s current flagship phones, so the OnePlus 2 is likely to be a threat to the current spate of top-tier mobiles.

 ”It is even ahead of the game, by including features coming to the next generation of phones, such as the reversible USB Type-C port connector. 

 ”At less than half the cost of Samsung’s flagship S6 handset, it’ll be looking to capture the mass market where decisions are based on price.

 ”The company doesn’t have the massive marketing budgets of other manufacturers so, in effect, we’re really seeing the true cost of flagship phone, without everything in tow to sell it.

 ”If other mobile makers were to adopt this tact, perhaps we’d see a truer reflection of what we should be spending on a new phone.”

 

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By July 28, 2015 Read More →

HTC drop a feature rich Desire 626

htcs-desire-626-will-take-on-the-moto-gHTC Corporation (“HTC”), a global leader in mobile innovation and design, has announced the HTC Desire 626,the successor to the HTC Desire 620. With a variety of colour combinations, endless personalisation options, and an enhanced camera that enables sharper photography, the affordable smartphone lets you express yourself your way like never before.

“Our new HTC Desire 626 is designed to give you the most customised personal user experience. Packed full of advanced features, we are delivering the very best in terms of personalised design and performance, as well as great value, to our customers,” said Peter Frølund, HTC General Manager UK and Ireland.

Unique design and advanced features enable self-expression

The HTC Desire 626 offers vivid colours in a beautifully crafted dual-tone design, and delivers a unique user experience. Easy and intuitive to use, it runs on Android™ 5.1 and features HTC Sense™, which provides an enhanced, fully customised Android functionality. With the HTC Sense interface you can change the look of your phone’s interface as often as you change your own style; maximum customisation, minimum effort. These endless personalisation possibilities allow you to create, share and realise your full potential.

Powered by a Snapdragon™ 1.2GHz Quad-Core processor, the HTC Desire 626 delivers a smooth and reliable experience with the capability to allow you to effortlessly stream films, run your latest app, play your favourite games or flick through your latest photos, which all come to life on the vibrant 5 inch HD LCD screen.

Keeping an eye on breaking stories or your social feeds is made easy with HTC BlinkFeed™, which provides easy access to your own personalised stream of online content in seconds, allowing you to stay updated at a glance, direct from your homescreen. 

 

Capture life from all angles wherever you are

Whether you have a passion for photography or capturing short impactful videos, the HTC Desire 626 can be your perfect pocket companion. With the choice of an enhanced 13MP main camera or a 5MP front camera, photos and selfies can be taken from any angle, ensuring you can fully express yourself with sharper images and selfies.

 

The HTC Eye™ Experience allows you to easily edit your shots for instant effects thanks to built-in enhancements. The HTC Desire626 also features the ability to capture high-quality 1080p video using either the front or rear facing cameras, which can be turned into mini movies that can be shared with friends and family using the HTC Video Highlights feature.

 

With a range of storage options, from 16GB[1] internal memory to a MicroSD slot that supports up to 512GB additional storage, you can save and share every photo, video and experience that defines you, as often as you wish.

 

Availability

The HTC Desire 626 comes in White Birch, Blue Lagoon, Purple Fire and Dark Grey, and will be available with mobile operators including O2 and 3 as well as major retailer Carphone Warehouse.

Posted in: News, Phones, Press Releases
By July 23, 2015 Read More →

KitVision Rush Action Camera HD100W Unboxing

youtu.be-HHpUbHTU1Q8A GoPro is a pretty expensive item and whilst they are designed for high octane action there is no getting past the idea that there is always a knock that would kill the camera regardless of the housing, skin or durability of the build. A GoPro is for a serious enthusiast, but what if you are looking to dip your toe in the water of extreme sports and don’t know if you would use a camera very much, or don’t want to risk destroying a £400 GoPro?

The Kitvision Rush feels good right out the box. It’s well weighted, features a brushed steel finish and looks the business when attached to a helmet, handlebar or just in hand. There are a large amount of features that one cannot ignore and the potential for use it immense. I was full of great ideas looking through the different mounts.

From here on everything was going to become a headache. You really appreciate a screen when you don’t have one. All the vibrations and light flashes in the world can happen however that doesn’t necessarily mean things will go the way you want them too. Especially if the bundled software is trash.

As you can see from the unboxing video the Kitvision Rush gives pretty good results when in use. The picture is clear and crisp, the audio, whilst hardly cinema quality, doesn’t offend and the camera itself impresses for the money. When it works.

The footage captures was a third attempt. The first, at the gun range, didn’t work well. Partly my fault, the camera arrived in the morning, I grabbed it on the way out the door on the way to the range after a quick unboxing expecting to be able to shoot right away. Instead I got home to a blank memory card after a confusing collection of buzzes and light flashes.

The manual was required. Not a particularly bad thing however I was a bit annoyed reading the manual to find a how to, instead of looking for extra features. I downloaded the suggested apps and got things working.

A couple of days later I figured I would attached the camera to the car for some exciting close to the road footage from various vantage points. However, this led to 30 mins of getting in and out of the car adjusting, pressing buttons, lost connections and laggy apps. On the odd occasion I managed to view the camera footage however I never managed to capture any footage.

A week later I begrudgingly picked up the camera to attach to the bike, I spent 5 minutes with manual, phone and camera and got it to work sporadically. I put the phone away and relied on what I had learned from the buttons and just recorded a bunch of footage to took a load of photos. No streaming, no clicking around the features, no ad-hoc wifi. A painless as possible left me really happy.

Most of the footage did not make the clip as it is more personal however what is there is great for a £130 camera to throw around. I have only charged it once and haven’t run out of battery yet. Documentation shows 2.5 hours however I must be approaching that soon. However, you have to take another cable with you if you are planning a trip, you cannot share with your micro USB you might have for a phone or tablet.

Specs

  • Micro SD / Micro SDHC up to 32GB (not included)

  • Auto rotation (G-sensor) 

  • Dual file video recording

  • Built-in high quality microphone

  • Rechargeable built-in battery

  • Battery life: up to 2.5 hours

  • Weight: 134.4 g

 

In a nutshell:

Pros

  • Great build quality

  • Great video footage

  • Looks swish

  • Tonnes of flexibility with the adapters

 

Cons

  • Software is pig ugly, slow and frequently doesn’t work

  • Wifi implementation is slow and sometimes non-existent

  • Uses MiniUSB in 2015.

 

Conclusion

Most of the problems with the Kitvision Rush can be fixed fairly easily and I would not dissuade anyone from purchasing one for this. If seeing what you are recording is important you might need to look elsewhere unless you have incredible patience. At £130 I would be pleased with the quality of the camera itself.

By July 21, 2015 Read More →

Zenwatch drops in price at Google

mainIn the US Google have reduced the price of the Asus ZenWatch to it’s lowest price to date. A lovely looking Smartwatch that is easily the best looking square faced Android Wear device at the moment. However, things aren’t quite to rosey this side of the pond. Here in the UK we have seen the price drop to the unfair, lazy and greedy price of £149.99 on the Google Play Store. Something really needs to be done about companies ignoring the exchange rate and simple matching dollar for pound. By contrast purchasing whilst in the US the Zenwatch would effectively cost £102, a bargain.

Asus unveiled the successor the ZenWatch on June 1. Google’s price cut of the device’s predecessor could well be a sign of its impending arrival retail launch.

Posted in: News, Wearables
By July 15, 2015 Read More →

Unboxing 6 Axis Mini Quadcopter Drone with Camera

vlcsnap-2015-07-14-15h39m13s400Purchasing a drone is an expensive task. You can really lay out a lot of money to get something stable, smooth and will produce good results. It is probably recommended you check out a cheaper Quadcopter first for a couple of reasons.

Your ability. They can be difficult to fly. Up, down, left right and rotating are the main commands however you also have to take into account wind speed and surroundings. The more you pay the easier this becomes and enthusiasts will likely throw money at a manufacturer to have more tech no board to assist with their flight.

Your need. Curiosity is the main reason I asked to review one. On the one hand I wanted to see if I would use it, on the other I wanted to have a look at my roof without having to get out the ladders. Two reasons that hardly need to have big bucks invested in tech.

So when I noticed that Mobilefun had a little drone for £40 with a camera on-board this would cover the need. The only thing was the ability.

Flying a lower end drone is not an easy task. A smaller, no frills drone is easy to lose control of, becomes susceptible to wind and will require extreme patience to find enjoyment in.

First up is the built quality. This is going to take a beating in its first hour off the ground. It will crash into trees, walls, hedges and ultimately, the ground. This little drone will take a licking, not a massive licking but will sustain a bit of rough treatment as it collides with everything around it. It looks good, feels light in hand and will impress anyone passing by. The controller isn’t as sturdy as the drone, built from cheap plastic and the buttons are horribly clicky. The beeps from the controller are shrill, the screen is basic and I am not convinced that all the buttons work.

Secondly is the use. I am of the mindset that a more expensive drone will be easier to control with gyroscopes to assist flight. For this Quadcopter a small gust of wind can upset the flight path and depending on the quality of the pilot may send it tumbling to the dirt. Rotors can bend easily upon impact and thankfully there are a couple of spares in the box. I haven’t had to use any however the casing had needed to be clicked back into place after a meeting with an apple tree. The thumb sticks are not particularly accurate. However this is £40 alternative and the fact that is even flies is enough to impress.

Third, is the battery. Flight time is about 7 minutes. Not a lot, however the size of the battery will directly affect the performance as this needs to be light. I’m happy with the flight time as there is enough time to have some fun and charger takes little over an our. The first few time do become somewhat annoying when the battery dies as it seems to come at a point that you are beginning to understand the method behind keeping it in the air.

The camera isn’t particularly great however it’s a welcome addition. Whilst only a 0.3 megapixel offering the quality isn’t a bad as you might think as you will see from the footage in the unboxing video. Instead it appears quite serviceable, especially for checking out a roof. The drone is quite noisy and as such the microphone is a bit of a waste.

Whilst this will be considered a toy by most it’s a great learning experience. I am even more interested in drones now having played with this and will be looking for a more advanced model in the near future. I do however have a little voice in the back of my mind telling me that these might be made illegal at some point and investing money in a high end drone would be a waste.

 Grab one from Mobilefun.

By July 14, 2015 Read More →

The Commodore PET is back, running Android

Commodore-Pet-3Commodore was one of the leading names in personal computers back in the 1980s and early 90s. Their fall from grace was a long quiet one as they slipped away becoming gradually forgotten. However, today they are back and they have announced they will be releasing an Android smartphone here in Europe later this week! The Commodore PET will be the company’s first smartphone, running a custom variant of Android 5.0, will come preloaded with two emulators for some highly important retro gaming. As for the specs, the PET will feature a 5.5-inch IPS display, along with a 1.7 GHz Mediatek 64-bit octa-core processor. Commodore is packing a 3,000mAh battery inside, along with a 13MP rear facing camera, and an 8MP front facing camera, both of which can be operated by a dedicated shutter button on the side of the phone.

Commodore will be launching two different versions of the PET, one with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, and one with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. UK pirces have not yet been announced however some sources are saying the 16GB model will run for around £250, while the 32GB model will go for around £300. Both models will come with a 32GB microSD card included. Three colours will be available white, black, or a classic beige color. Initially, the Commodore PET will be available in Italy, France, Germany, and Poland, with plans to expand to the US and other European countries in the near future.

- 5.5-inch 1080p display, with Gorilla Glass 3
- 13MP Sony rear camera
- 8MP wide angle front camera
- Dedicated camera button
- Dual SIM/4G support
- 1.7GHz octa-core Mediatek processor
- ARM Mali T760 GPU
- 3000 mAh battery. 
- Custom version of Android 5.0

Below you can see the classic Ghosts’n'Goblins on C64 Emulator. 

Also included is an A500 Emulator as illustrated below playing Turrican II

Welcome back Commodore, you have been missed.

Posted in: News, Phones
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