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Google begins mashing up Waze and Maps for mobile

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 6:03 pm

Today, Google is showing off the first round of integration between its Maps for mobile service and the recently acquired Waze traffic data startup. Now in both the Google Maps for Android and iOS, users can select the traffic tab and see notifications of accidents, construction, road closures, and other incidents reported by Waze users. This includes the reporting of roadblocks as well as locations of police patrol cars.

 

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On the flipside, the Waze app now supports Google Search, and Google has granted access to Street View and satellite imagery. With Waze users reporting over 1 million accidents and blockages per month, the addition of Waze incident reports to Google Maps is a substantial improvement to the service. "I think it will have a pretty big impact," said Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps. "A big fraction of GMM users will see these."

 

"We are cross-pollinating as much as possible," McClendon said of his team and the Waze U.S. unit, which moved to Mountain View a couple weeks ago while the company's engineering group remains in Tel Aviv. "We're learning a lot both ways; it's a very strong meeting of the minds."

Launch day game list released for Xbox One, lots of heavy hitters

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 5:03 pm

This morning, Microsoft officially released the list of games that will be available on launch day for the Xbox One. The list contains 23 titles of some of the biggest series that will debut this fall. The genres range from first-person shooters to RPGs and casual games such as Peggle 2 and Zoo Tycoon. I have listed out all of the "Day One" games below.

 

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  • Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
  • Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
  • Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
  • Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft)
  • FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
  • Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
  • Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
  • Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
  • Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
  • Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
  • Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
  • NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
  • NBA LIVE 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
  • Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
  • Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
  • Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
  • Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
  • Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
  • Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
  • Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
  • Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoë Mode, Majesco)

 

Additionally, Microsoft announced that all pre-order versions of the Xbox One in Europe will come bundled with a free FIFA 14 download. I'm sure for some of our friends across the pond, that is incentive enough to preorder their copy of the next-gen console.

G.Skill unveils Ripjaw series high-performance DDR3 SO-DIMM modules

By: Charles Gantt | More News: RAM | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 3:04 pm

Today, G.Skill announced the launch of a new addition to its Ripjaws series of RAM. Dubbed the G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 SO-DIMM, the new addition is designed for users who want to get the most out of their laptops. G.Skill says the new SO-DIMM Ripjaws modules are built using only the highest quality components and that every module is validated using G.Skill's rigorous burn-in test.

 

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These new SO-DIMM modules are designed with performance and power efficiency in mind. Requiring only 1.35V, the new SO-DIMM Ripjaws consume less power, which in turn causes them to generate less heat than typical, higher voltage SO-DIMM memory modules. This allows your laptop's battery life to increase while its operating temperature lowers, which increases system stability.

 

G.Skill says that their 1.35V SO-DIMM Ripjaw kits are compatible with laptops and PCs that are equipped with Intel's 3rd and 4th generation Core i3,i5, and i7 processors that support 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMM memory. Like all other G.Skill RAM, the Ripjaw SO-DIMM modules feature a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.

Continue reading 'G.Skill unveils Ripjaw series high-performance DDR3 SO-DIMM modules' (full post)

HTC One set to make its way to Verizon's network on August 22

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 3:20 am

Verizon's network is set to get HTC's flagship smartphone, the HTC One, this coming Thursday, August 22. The announcement came in a Tweet from Verizon's official Twitter account this past Friday. The tweet says that the One will be available online and in stores for $199 on a two-year contract.

 

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Verizon is admittedly quite late to the game by only debuting the One now. Additionally, there was no announcement of the rumored blue version of the HTC One that was said to be a Verizon exclusive, so I guess we can debunk that rumor. All of the specs appear to be the same and nothing has changed. We are left wondering why it took Verizon so long to launch the HTC One on its network.

GIGABYTE launches new AMD based G1 Sniper A88X gaming motherboard

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Motherboards | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 12:35 am

Today, GIGABYTE announced the launch of a new AMD motherboard to their G1-Killer line of high-end gaming motherboards. The new G1 Sniper A88X boasts many of the features we have come to expect from GIGABYTE's legendary green and black premium line of motherboards.

 

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With the ability to support both FM2 Trinity and Richland APUs and the upcoming FM2+ Keveri processors, this new offering is sure to become a hit among the AMD gaming community. Featuring what appears to be two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, 4 DDR3 DIMM slots, and 6 SATA ports, this motherboard has room for even the most expansive gaming systems.

 

The most impressive feature, however, lies within its audio configuration. Much like the Intel-based Sniper 5, the G1 Sniper A88X features an upgradable operational amplifier (op-Amp) that allows users to custom tailor their audio output to their specific taste. Additionally, all the USB power connectors are gold plated, with all power sources isolated for a truly noise free environment.

 

Furthermore, the motherboard's audio circuit features electrostatic shielding between all analog audio components, high-quality Nichion solid capacitors, and a Realtek ALC898 audio processor that is shielded by a gold-plated cover.

SpaceTT: Nova in Delphinus brightens to magnitude 5.0

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Aug 20, 2013 12:07 am

What a treat! I get to write two SpaceTT posts in one day! Stargazers across the northern hemisphere are witnessing a rare occurrence happening right before our eyes. A nova in the constellation Delphinus has brightened over the last couple of days to a magnitude 5.0 and has allowed naked eye viewing of the astronomical phenomenon.

 

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In the upper left-hand corner of the image above, you can see Nova Del 2013 appearing as a large star shining brightly in a sea of fainter stars. What you are actually witnessing is a binary star system in which the larger star is having its hydrogen stripped off by the much smaller white dwarf star. As is fresh layer of hydrogen grows thicker and more dense, the lower layers erupt in a runaway hydrogen-fusion reaction. As the reaction takes place, the star grows much hotter and brightens in the night sky.

 

To get an idea of how large this explosion is, one can simply imagine what a hydrogen bomb the size of the Earth would look like. The nova was discovered on August 14 by astronomer Koichi Itagaki of Yamagata, Japan, around 2PM EDT. It was originally listed as a magnitude 17 in brightness, and has since grown 100,000 times in brightness. The event will most likely only last for a few more days, so if you have clear, dark skies, you might just be able to see it with your naked eye. Tossing in visual aid from binoculars or a telescope will greaten one's chance at observing the nova.

Continue reading 'SpaceTT: Nova in Delphinus brightens to magnitude 5.0' (full post)

Dell dumps standalone XPS 10, only offers it with keyboard dock now

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 11:31 pm

As sales of Windows RT-based devices continue to decline, Dell has announced that it will no longer be selling the standalone version of its XPS 10 tablet. The Windows RT-based device first saw signs of trouble when the company slashed its price to $299 back in May, but that deal is no longer available as users are only able to pick up an XPS 10 in a bundle version that includes a keyboard dock.

 

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This keyboard dock increases the price by more than $179, bringing the total price up to $479.99 for either the 32GB or 64GB model. A version with integrated LTE can be had for $579.99. Industry analysts suspect that Dell has nixed the standalone version in hopes of promoting the XPS 10 as more of a productivity device over a content delivery package.

 

In my opinion, Windows RT will never catch on as its lack of x86 compatibility is a major drawback for anyone wishing to use the tablet for anything other than simple Office functionality or Internet browsing. With Microsoft writing off $900 million on its Surface RT inventory, this is just another nail in the coffin for Windows RT.

Sony releases 12GB flash-based PS3 in the US, Canada and UK

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 11:03 pm

Sony's 12GB flash-storage-based PlayStation 3 was originally only expected to launch in Europe and Hong Kong, but someone in Sony made a decision to release the device not only in Canada, but in the United States as well.

 

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Today, Sony released the new ridiculously low storage PS3 console to the US via its PlayStation online store. The device retails for $200, which is just $70 cheaper than the normal PlayStation 3 with over 480GB more storage. While flash-based storage in a console is a good idea, the thumb drive I was given as a freebie by my insurance company contains more than 12GB of storage.

LeakedTT: HTC One Max will feature fingerprint scanner under rear cam

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 10:35 pm

With rumors of a fingerprint scanner on Apple's iPhone 5S debunked, the rumor mill has turned to a new smartphone and leaked photos that are said to be of a fingerprint scanner on HTC's upcoming One Max smartphone. In the image below, you can see what appears a black square below the One Max's camera lens. The photo is quite pixelated, which instantly throws red flags for me.

 

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For now, we will take website ePrice's word and assume that the HTC One Max will indeed feature a fingerprint scanner and assume that this photo is the real deal and that it's not just a black piece of tape. Assuming that it is real, I am left asking the question, "what would we use a fingerprint scanner for?" It may be cool to unlock your phone with your fingerprint or use it for password authentication, but is it really needed in today's smartphones?

 

Before I close this article out, I really would like to send a request out to all those leaksters out there who provide the world with early photos of unreleased devices. Please take higher quality photos! In the case of this photo, there is a perfectly good HTC One right beside the One Max. As a One owner, I know that the image quality would been far better than what was posted.

Beats wants to part ways with HTC, looks for investor to buy stake

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 19, 2013 10:02 pm

Headphone maker Beats by Dre is looking to sever its partnership with smartphone manufacturer HTC in hopes that it will pick up a new investor who can pump new money into the company. The midrange audio accessory manufacturer is said to be planning to buy out HTC as it begins talks with an investor that will provide debt financing and who will take a minority ownership in the company in the coming weeks.

 

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The two companies first partnered up in 2011 when HTC began losing ground to rival Samsung. The partnership was expected to breathe new life into sales of the Asian smartphone manufacturer's products, but the numbers that were predicted never materialized. HTC invested $300 million for a 50 percent stake in the company as well as exclusively of the Beats audio IP used in smartphones.

 

Earlier this year, HTC sold back 25 percent of its stake to Beats for $150 million but retained the mobile exclusively rights. With a final buyback imminent, sources are saying that HTC will most likely retain those exclusivity rights after the deal is finished. On the bright side, the deal will inject some much-needed cash into HTC's coffers, which could set it up to once again claim the top spot in the mobile market.

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