Did you know that the anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens had released some of their heroes and villains to the public though an announcement of trading cards?
One of the characters involved looks like another addition to the series' much-loved robot collection. This spinning ball droid is named BB-8 and is seen in the teaser trailer speeding along a sandy surface, bumping and jumping around.
Well, according to Mark Hamill's interview with Yahoo Movies, this lovable robot is a real-live thing, not some kind of fancy CGI trickery.
Oculus VR has teamed up with Runtastic for some upcoming VR-based workout and fitness applications. Runtastic will reportedly use the Oculus Rift, allowing users to use the VR headset to transport them to exotic locations around the world for their workout.
Runtastic is only running with a prototype application at this time, but the developer is aiming for a totally hands-free experience. Within the VR world, users will see their virtual trainer, and a heads up display that will show them real-time stats and other details. I think the idea of a VR workout is incredible, as people could choose to work out on the Moon, on the beach at sunrise or sunset, or on the side of a cliff. It will open up a new world of app development for wearables and workout 'maps'.
The world's third largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi, made just $56.15 million profit in 2013, from a total of $4.3 billion in revenue. Reuters is reporting that the information they received were from the financial results from Xiaomi, after the Chinese company purchased a 1.3% stake in Midea, a home appliance maker, for $205 million.
It wasn't long ago that The Wall Street Journal was reporting that Xiaomi's net profit had close to doubled from last year, jumping up 84% to $566 million. The Journal called it "a lucrative business in an industry where most players selling cheap handsets struggle to break even." Even though Xiaomi is the #1 handset manufacturer in China, it is still lagging far behind companies like Samsung and Apple when it comes to revenue and profits.
Apple made around $25.4 billion in revenue during the same period, compared to Xiaomi with just $4.3 billion. Xiaomi has been making flagship handsets at mid-range prices, which is securing itself masses of marketshare, with it being the world's third largest smartphone company in just four years, but is still struggling to compete globally against mega giants like Samsung and Apple.
Google has pushed out an update for Google Now for both iOS and Android, which provide control to Nest, the smart thermostat. You can now use your Next with over two dozen voice commands, either through Google Now, the microphone, or search box on Chrome.
Google Now will also display a card notification letting you know when your Nest is changing things in your home or office, with location-based actions delivering the right temperature, at the right time. You can pre-heat, or pre-cool your home for when you're coming home from the shops, or from work, for example.
Owners of the Nest thermostat will have to authorize your account and opt into the voice command functions before this will work. You'll also have to hit up the Google Now card too, but once you have, it's all smooth sailing.
Sony Pictures Entertainment employees heard from company CEO Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal during an open town hall meeting on Monday. The company is still painfully suffering after a major data breach led to emails stolen, employee personal information leaked, and other disruptions to its business.
"This will not take us down," Lynton said during the town hall meeting in front of employees. "You should not be worried about the future of this studio."
Lynton apologized that employee personal information and medical records were stolen - and then posted online - by the cybercriminals. During the two sessions held on Monday, there were no question and answer segments for employees to ask questions to Lynton or Pascal.
Bose has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, fighting being thrown off, and then back on Apple store shelves. Today we are hearing that the company might be launching its own music streaming service, that could compete against the likes of Spotify and Pandora.
Hybebot is reporting the news from a job listing for a Senior Designer that would help make the "next generation streaming music platform" and a matching "ecosystem of products." Engadget has asked Bose to open up about its new plans, but there's been nothing said so far. This could be bad for the company's plans of getting back onto Apple store shelves, as a music streaming service would be competing against Apple.
We should hopefully find out more soon, with CES 2015 right around the corner.
The HBO Go app is now available on the Amazon Fire TV, with support for the Fire TV Stick expected next spring. Until HBO launches a standalone streaming service, interested users will still need to authenticate their cable or satellite subscription.
"Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we're delighted to bring HBO Go to Amazon's Fire TV - offering our vast collection of award-winning TV series and movies to Fire TV users," said Jeff Dallesandro, HBO VP of Digital Domestic Network Distribution, in a press statement. "We're thrilled to add this platform to the suite of HBO Go viewing options, offering our subscribers compelling new experiences like Amazon's unified voice search."
The Amazon Fire TV is available for $79, $20 cheaper than normal, until December 28, as Amazon and HBO celebrate the adoption of HBO Go.
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban was caught up in the data breach suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, as Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko, Cuban, and Cuban Companies attorney Robert Hart were discussing contract negotiations for "Shark Tank." Cuban was not pleased to be offered $30,000 per episode in season 5, $31,200 per episode in season 6, and $32,488 per episode in season 7.
Cuban now speaks directly with Mosko via Cyber Dust, Cuban's free texting app, providing a secure platform in which messages and photos are purged after 30 seconds. Similar to SnapChat, however, it would appear Cyber Dust messages can be captured - but indicates a growing trend among users looking for more secure communications.
"For those following the Sony hack situation, you may have seen one of my emails about my Shark Tank salary and deal emerge," Cuban recently said via Cyber Dust. "What they don't know is that I moved all the rest of my discussions to Cyber Dust! That's why there was only one email. Moral of the story is that the 'no big deal' email you send today can easily be part of tomorrow's big hack leak. No matter who you are, someone you know is getting hacked and it could impact you."
During a recent interview with Bloomberg, 343 Industries' General Manager Bonnie Ross said that when the studio opened up seven years ago, her goal was to keep Microsoft's Halo franchise ticking along for 30... years. Ross said: "I wanted to make sure we were able to go another three decades."
Ross continued, talking about forming the studio itself, saying it was "the most challenging thing I've ever done." When it came to Halo, the 343 Industries boss said that she wanted the Halo games to have "characters that people can identify with" with both "heroic females and heroic males." Ross wanted to see more females in the games industry, where she added "It's really important for us to get young female talent, because they are the future. It's important to have leadership roles across the industry that people can aspire to."
When it comes to the Halo franchise, the next release will be in 2015 with Halo 5: Guardians. We also have Halo: Nightfall, which is the first live action TV show in the Halo franchise history. The last release, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, has been a broken mess since launch, with subsequent patches getting it into better working order, but it's not perfect yet.
The much-publicised Sony Pictures hack has thrown huge swathes of confidential information into the public domain over the last few weeks, including details on upcoming projects (such as next year's Bond sequel 'Spectre') and now a new email has unearthed previously unreleased information regarding a potentially upcoming project based on Nintendo's much loved franchise.
'Super Mario Bros.' has already been made into a motion picture before; an ill-fated 1993 live action film starring Bob Hoskins, but according to emails acquired by BuzzFeed news, Hollywood producer Avi Arad has been actively pursuing the rights with the Japanese video game giant, telling Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal in October that he had closed the deal, and then emailing images of himself with Mario creator creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata.
The project has not been officially announced by Sony Pictures, nor Nintendo, and Arad has since denied that he had successfully secured the rights. There is no information yet to suggest that the leak has derailed the plans, but for now it's questionable.