Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it's easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don't escape without notice, we've gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!
You might say the week is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workweek, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Weekly Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past seven days -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
When Samsung unveiled its first 4K Ultra HD TV at CES this year, it said other sizes would follow, both larger and smaller than the initial 85-inch version. Now it's apparently ready to fulfill part of that promise, announcing in Korea that 65- and 55-inch models will launch next month. Of course our next question is how these smaller models will compare to the $39,999 MSRP 85S9 UHD TV in price. Hopefully they'll follow the path blazed by Sony, which recently introduced models at that size with pricing well below the $10,000 benchmark, although we expect Seiki's 50-incher will still hold the crown for value pricing. The press release mentions they will feature Samsung's upgradeable Smart TV platform and the "micro dimming ultimate" LED lighting of their larger cousin, but the odd "Timeless Gallery" frame / stand (pictured above on the 85-incher) was not listed.
Source: Korea Newswire
The announcement of the Acer Aspire R7 was the best example of the company's assertion that it was moving from computers designed with touch to computers designed for touch. But if having a fancy, even unprecedented, hinge is what defines a touch-optimized notebook, Acer is a bit late to the party.
Last October, Switched On discussed the role that laptop-tablet hybrids -- namely convertibles and detachables -- would play in the differentiation of Windows 8 devices. Both types have seen their share of support. Detachables have included HP's Envy x2, ASUS' Transformer-inspired VivoTab and Microsoft's Surface. (Dell's XPS 10 is available only with Windows RT.)
Nintendo seems to have a knack for repeat performances. Nintendo DS? Quickly supplanted by the DS Lite -- and the DSi didn't last too long either before it was succeeded by the DSi XL. Even the 3DS saw a revision, when it was supersized last summer. These redesigns typically don't change more than the device's size, but when the 3DS XL was announced, some gamers were left wanting. Didn't the original 3DS get an accessory specifically to address the lack of a second analog pad? Why didn't Nintendo take the opportunity to add dual-analog controls? Well, if that happened, Nintendo couldn't release an encore Circle Pad Pro accessory, could it? Let's take a look at the 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro and see what's changed.
Gallery: 3DS XL Circle Pad Pro
Info about the Iconia W3 Windows 8 tablet has already slipped out a few times, and now this 8.1-incher is live on Acer's Finnish website. While there's no mention of price or availability, the specifications list matches what's already been leaked. You're looking at Windows 8 Pro running atop an Intel Atom Z2760 CPU, aided by 2GB of RAM. Other features include a 1,280 x 768 touchscreen, an eight-hour battery, up to 64GB of storage, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. Port lovers will be pleased to find micro-HDMI and micro-USB hookups onboard, as well as a microSD slot. Microsoft Word comes pre-installed, but there's no concrete info about the optional full-size keyboard dock -- other than that it exists, anyway. It'll likely be closer to June when we'll be staring at it in the flesh, so you'll have to settle for the info at the source link for now.
That cat's out of the bag a day early, it seems. Yahoo's board has approved a $1.1 billion cash deal to purchase the blogging site Tumblr, according to The Wall Street Journal. We were expecting Yahoo to announce the acquisition during tomorrow's NYC media event -- CEO Marissa Mayer may instead use the last-minute gathering to detail the company's plans for integrating the popular platform. It's unclear how Yahoo intends to utilize its latest procurement, but with a 10-figure price tag now public, we can only imagine that Tumblr will be put to good use. We'll be covering tomorrow afternoon's event live, so stay tuned for more details from New York City.
Filed under: Internet
Source: Wall Street Journal (Twitter)
A new Lumia phone from Nokia, this year's Google I/O and BlackBerry Live -- yep, it was a pretty hectic week for us, but also a good seven days for tech news. Even if Google didn't have any truly new hardware for us, it's started up its own on-demand music service, gave us more details on Google Glass, redesigned its Maps and, well, it was a very long keynote. Join us after the break for a numerical breakdown of that and the rest of the week's big news.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
Eyes in the design world turned to New York City this week as New York Design Week officially launched. We hit the floors of International Contemporary Furniture Fair today to bring you the best new green designs from one of the largest contemporary design shows in the US -- including Blackbody's gorgeous OLED light trees and Tat Chao's ethereal LED lamps made from recycled wine glasses. We also checked out the locally focused BKLYN Designs show, where design duo Bower unveiled an awesome magnetic LED lamp, made from discarded pieces of scrap wood. Lighting designer Adam Frank unveiled three inspiring new designs at BKLYN Designs: the LED Lumen lamp, which casts tree-shaped shadows from a little candle holder; the incredible Reveal Projector, which projects an image of outdoor foliage and sky through a window on a blank wall (good for those in tiny NYC apartments); and the 3D hologram-ish LUCID Mirror, which displays a 3D image of illuminated clouds over your head!
There's a new kid on the Arduino block, and it's called the Arduino Robot. Launched yesterday at Maker Faire Bay Area, it's the company's first product that extends beyond single microcontroller boards. The Roomba-like design, which we first saw in November 2011, is the result of a collaboration with Complubot. It consists of two circular boards, each equipped with Atmel's ubiquitous ATmega32u4 and connected via ribbon cable.
The bottom board is home to four AA batteries (NiMH), a pair of motors and wheels, a power connector and switch plus some infrared sensors. By default it's programmed to drive the motors and manage power. The top board features a color LCD, a microSD card slot, an EEPROM, a speaker, a compass, a knob plus some buttons and LEDs. It's programmed to control the display and handle I/O. Everything fits inside a space that's about 10cm high and 19cm in diameter.
Pre-soldered connectors and prototyping areas on each board make it easier to customize the robot platform with additional sensors and electronics. It even comes with eleven step-by-step projects and a helpful GUI right out of the box. The Arduino Robot is now on sale at the Maker Faire for $275 and will be available online in July. Take a look at our gallery below and watch our video interview with Arduino founder Massimo Banzi after the break.
Gallery: Arduino Robot at Maker Faire 2013
There's nothing more frustrating than watching a product or service get announced, then having to wait an age to try it out. Nintendo hears that, and has announced via Nintendo Direct, that during E3 week, Best Buy will have playable demos of as-yet released Wii U games in 100 stores across the US and Canada. Given that no one was likely expecting any new hardware from the firm, it's clear the gaming stalwart is looking for other ways to stir-up some interest. There's no mention of titles, so we're left to assume they'd be the games announced at the show. Either way, scratch out that week in June to make sure you find out first hand. Scrub right to the end of the video past the break to see the announcement for yourself.
Virtual football enthusiasts excited for Madden 25 (it's technically Madden 2014 marking 25 years of the franchise) may want to head over to Amazon if they're serious about watching actual NFL games. The online retailer has an exclusive Anniversary Edition of the game up for pre-order, which comes bundled with a 17-week pass for both Madden Ultimate Team cards and NFL Sunday Ticket for computer and mobile. On top of getting all the 2013 regular season's out-of-market matches, DirecTV subscribers can snag a $10-a-month discount on the TV version (normally $225) for one year with a pro bono MAX upgrade. Joystiq notes that only 100,000 copies are up for grabs, split evenly between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. All it takes to get in on the action starting August 27th is $100 -- $40 more than the standard edition, which can net you up to $400 in total savings on the services. Hit up the source link if you're ready to secure your copy.
A good acronym also hints at what it does, and Visteon's new intelligent in-car concept, HABIT, is a good example of that. The Human Bayesian Intelligence Technology system -- to give it its full name -- learns the behaviour of drivers so it can automatically change the temperature, heat the seats and drop that Biohazard album just when you need it most. Factors such as weather, time of day and real-time road conditions all play a part, plus, of course a log of all your typical in-car interactions. It promises to go above just warming your behind on a cold morning though, offering intelligence that would be able to divine local radio stations that play your kind of jam when you're out of town. It could also seamlessly mix these with your local / tablet / smartphone library and internet sources. Sound a little too creepy? Wait until you see the computer-generated demo video presenter past the break.
We know you've got questions, and if you're brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here's the outlet to do so. This week's Ask Engadget inquiry is from Xan, who wants Cintiq functionality without paying Cintiq prices. If you're looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
"I'm a student and I'm considering staying on to do graphic design, and I really like the look of Wacom's Cintiq devices. Unfortunately I couldn't afford one even if I sold a kidney, so I was wondering if I could turn an Android tablet into a cheaper version? I figure a device like the Galaxy Note 10.1 with its Wacom digitizer would be a good fit, so is there a way to do it? Thanks!"
We're sucking in air through our teeth, as we're sorry to say, we can't think of a way this could be done successfully. There's a few problems like no software, a lack of bandwidth and doubts over the accuracy of a tablet to replicate such a sophisticated piece of hardware. That said, perhaps the forthcoming Surface Pro software update might solve this problem altogether, but an Android tablet? We're not so sure. But if there's anyone out there who has made it happen and wants to share their revelation, why not leave a note below?
Filed under: Peripherals
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought a new handset from Sony to the US and UK, updates to Nokia Creative Suite and three new (and very inexpensive) smartphones from Blu Products. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of May 13th, 2013.
The quantified self movement's gaining steam, with companies creating all sorts of gadgets to track our activity levels, sleeping habits and even what's going on inside our heads. Melon's an EEG headband that taps into your brain's inner workings to show you how well you maintain mental focus. We actually saw Melon's prototype predecessor last year when it was called Axio, and while this new band packs largely the same components, the design's been refined to a much thinner profile. As before, its got a trio of electrodes for sensing brainwaves, a NeuroSky chip for filtering out extraneous electrical noise and Bluetooth 4.0 for offloading data wirelessly. It sends data to iPhones (Android's in development) running the Melon app, which translates that info into a focus graph -- generally speaking, the higher the neural activity in your pre-frontal cortex, the higher your level of focus. Users then input contextual data tags like time of day, type of activity and the surrounding environmental conditions to allow them to track variables that may affect their focus.
Filed under: Wearables
When Valve's first hardware hire, Jeri Ellsworth, tweeted back in February that she was fired from the company, we were disappointed but also intrigued by what she meant by "time for new exciting projects." Well we finally saw what she's been up to here at at Maker Faire 2013. It's called Cast AR, and it's a pair of 3D augmented-reality glasses that she and former Valve programmer Rick Johnson were working on at Valve before they left.
The model we saw is still in the early prototype stages, but the concepts are already in place. Perched atop a pair of active shutter glasses are a couple of miniature LCD projectors, which bounce images from a connected computer onto a special reflective surface at a 120Hz refresh rate. A camera module sits on the eyewear's bridge and monitors an array of infrared LEDs embedded in the reflective surface. This allows for quick and accurate head tracking. Join us after the break for our impressions and our video interview with Jeri Ellsworth.
Gallery: Cast AR hands-on at Maker Faire 2013
Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.
If we're to find a common thread in this week's collection of stories, it'd be nature's guiding hand. How it inspires science, how we seek to imitate it, and how unnatural the future of policing could be. This is alt-week,
We know that "wherefore art thou?" was about Romeo, but if your question was for (Dell's) Ophelia, then it's likely more "when art thou." The answer? July. The Android pendrive / USB computer we saw back at CES may be one of many, but distinctive thanks to its mainstream PC-maker origins. We're still lacking a lot of the specifics, other than that there's WiFi, Bluetooth, Wyse PocketCloud integration, plus, of course, HDMI and Android 4.something. There will likely be a few enterprise-friendly features too (administration tools, remote wiping) reports PC World. As usual, developers will get their hands on them first, with -- interestingly -- some cable and telecoms companies potentially stocking it too -- though no specifics at this time. So, the $100 Dell might not be the portable you'd love for this price, but maybe the USB PC finally crossing over?
Source: PC World
Sprint was clearly hungry for capacity when it bought spectrum from US Cellular last fall, and it's at last getting its fill -- some of it, at least -- by closing the deal today. The carrier has officially taken possession of 20MHz in airwaves across Midwestern cities like Champaign, Chicago and South Bend, as well as 10MHz in St. Louis. The customer handover isn't quite as grandiose as was mentioned in November, however: Sprint is ultimately adopting 420,000 US Cellular customers, rather than the originally claimed 585,000. It should be a relatively bump-free transition, no matter who's included in the group. Sprint expects the switch to take several months, and it's keeping the US Cellular network active while customers go hunting for discounted phones.
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