Monthly Archives: February 2014

Here’s an early look at Google Project Tango’s indoor mapping abilities

Here's an early look at Google Project Tango's indoor mapping abilities

Yesterday Google announced Project Tango, a prototype smartphone with a sophisticated 3D sensing system for mapping and tracking your surroundings. One day later, we’ve already got a sneak peek at the phone’s indoor modeling capabilities, courtesy of TechCrunch and Project Tango partner company Matterport.

Matterport, which creates 3D models of interior spaces, used one of the prototype Tango devices to create a map of the room you see below. When a Matterport employee moves the phone around the room, the company’s software captures 3D data and color camera data, which it uses to construct a comprehensive model. The result is accurate enough to measure the height from floor to ceiling, and we imagine the company chose to map an insanely cluttered room to demonstrate the system’s ability to process complicated information. Matterport’s CEO says Tango’s 3D mapping will only get better with a higher-resolution camera, but the 4-megapixel shooter on the current prototype clearly does a respectable job at 3D capturing already. Head past the break to see the video demo.

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Engadget

Engadget

You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

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Microsoft, Apple, Sprint and Verizon have already shelled out millions to help the president bring high-speed broadband to schools and amp up the role technology plays in education. Now Adobe’s on the bandwagon too, and it’s bringing along gobs of software and educational resources for kids and teachers. Students at some 15,000 US schools get access to Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, while the staff gets tools from Adobe’s Education Exchange, electronic signature software and presentation tech for distance learning. The company’s total commitment weighs in at over $300 million, but it’s not hard to see what it gets out of the deal. Looking past the potential for a hefty tax writeoff, the company said its plans are in line with the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s emphasis on media production and criticism. In other words, Adobe wants to help foster creative skills in youngsters. Getting a new generation of media-savvy kids interested in its production tools is just icing on the cake.

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With most of the regular crew away, Terrence decides to call in some heavy-duty reinforcements. Richard joins us with critical insights into HD and the Netflix bottleneck debacle. Meanwhile, Brad is perfect for a providing a rundown of the best from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including first-hand insight into Samsung’s newest devices. There’s plenty to learn by tuning in this week, so head to the streaming links for the full episode of the Engadget Podcast.

Hosts: Terrence O’Brien, Richard Lawler, Brad Molen

Producer: Jon Turi

Hear the podcast:

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Long gone are the days of prepaid carriers being stuck with low-end smartphones. Need proof? That’s easy: Sprint has announced that both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile will carry Samsung’s Galaxy S5 in the second quarter of the year, or sometime around the worldwide launch in April. Neither wireless brand is giving out prices at this stage, although it’s safe to presume that the brand new, Spark-compatible flagship will carry a premium. Even so, its presence should be welcome to Boost and Virgin customers who’ve had to go without high-end Galaxies.

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As winter begins to slowly depart here in the States, some of us here at Engadget are anxious to get outside and shoot some spring-like stills. What’s that? Oh, you are too? Well, we’ve collected a handful of discounted camera options this time around that await on the other side of the jump. Per usual, there’s a range of prices, so there should be something to suit most budgets.

If there are other cameras, lenses and the like you have your eye on that we haven’t included here — join us and add them to your “Want” list. Every time there’s a price cut in the future, you’ll get an email alert!

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Remember how the discovery of a botnet took much of the value out of the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange, leading it to declare bankruptcy? Yeah, investors aren’t happy about that — and they’re now demanding compensation. One of them, Gregory Greene, has filed a lawsuit accusing the exchange of fraud for not doing enough to protect traders from theft. He’s pressing for class action status to cover all Bitcoin owners who used Mt. Gox, and he wants the exchange to pay both restitution and damages. It’s not yet clear how the company will respond, but it wouldn’t be surprising if there are other lawsuits to come. When customers may have lost the equivalent of $480 million in virtual currency, there’s a lot more than just hurt feelings at stake.

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Ah, the joys of innocence. Jamie didn’t know there was a Lego Movie, but Dan is here to fill him in on the details and deliver his thoughts on how it’s the antithesis of Toy Story‘s rigid plot. The conversation then turns to Amazon’s rebranding of Lovefilm in the UK and its plans to bolster its streaming library and revive Ripper Street, a Victorian-era cop show. Then there’s the tangled web of intrigue and black-market banking called Bitcoin to try and hash out. It’s a hefty task, but the crew is ready to attack the issues head on. Join us at the streaming links below for this week’s episode of the Engadget Eurocast.

Hosts: Dan Cooper, Jamie Rigg

Producer: Jon Turi

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Windows Phone owners no longer have to watch from the sidelines as their friends battle for supremacy in FIFA 14. EA has released a native version of the free-to-play soccer (aka football) title for Microsoft’s platform with the same on-the-pitch action that you’d expect on Android and iOS, including options to buy both team points and special game modes like Manager or Kick Off. There’s nothing specifically taking advantage of Windows Phone here, but Lumia owners wanting to dominate a virtual Premier League should be very happy.

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If at first you don’t succeed… iterate, iterate, iterate on Android? After signing on Ashton Kutcher as a product engineer — and then going on to release a pair of poorly received tablets — Lenovo is dusting itself off. A marketing executive told Recode that the company is once again teaming up with Mr. Kutcher, this time on a line of special edition smartphones. Unfortunately, details about the devices are scarce for now — all we know is that they’re due out later this year, and that contrary to what you might expect, Kutcher will in fact have a say in the product design. “I know on one level, it sounds corny, but it is real,” chief marketing officer David Roman told Recode. Because these are limited edition phones, we’re going to assume they’ll be sold under the Lenovo brand — not Motorola’s. Still, we’ve asked a Lenovo rep for comment and will let you know if we learn more.

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Rearview mirrors aren’t always as useful as you might like — bright headlights, weather or a basketball team in the back seats can make it tough to see what’s behind you. None of those should be a problem once Nissan’s new Smart rearview mirror reaches cars, though. The peripheral blends a traditional mirror with both an LCD and a rear camera that compensates for bad lighting. Flick a switch and the camera system takes over, giving you a clear view of traffic no matter the road conditions. The smart mirror will first show up in the ZEOD RC Le Mans racer, and Nissan plans to make it an option for everyday cars starting with Japan this spring. Drivers worldwide will get it in 2015. That’s just the start of the automaker’s plans, however. Since the smart mirror is as effective as a large rear window, Nissan expects the technology to influence car design; you may see more aerodynamic vehicles now that there’s less need for glass.

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Adobe backs ConnectED Initiative, sends free software to schools

Adobe backs ConnectED Initiative, sends free software to schools

Microsoft, Apple, Sprint and Verizon have already shelled out millions to help the president bring high-speed broadband to schools and amp up the role technology plays in education. Now Adobe’s on the bandwagon too, and it’s bringing along gobs of software and educational resources for kids and teachers. Students at some 15,000 US schools get access to Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements, while the staff gets tools from Adobe’s Education Exchange, electronic signature software and presentation tech for distance learning. The company’s total commitment weighs in at over $300 million, but it’s not hard to see what it gets out of the deal. Looking past the potential for a hefty tax writeoff, the company said its plans are in line with the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s emphasis on media production and criticism. In other words, Adobe wants to help foster creative skills in youngsters. Getting a new generation of media-savvy kids interested in its production tools is just icing on the cake.

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EA Sports told the NCAA it was using real players in its college football titles — back in 2007

EA Sports told the NCAA it was using real players in its college football titles -- back in 2007

Back in September, EA Sports announced that it would shutter its NCAA Football series after losing support from the college sports governing body and due to ongoing legal spats. As part of that news, the video game studio said that it had settled its case with those suing over the use of their likeness in its releases. During the course of the last week, though, a federal district court judge ordered documents be made public in the Ed O’Bannon player-likeness suit. So why does that matter? Well, as it turns out, EA sought use of player names and faces “just as they are shown on TV broadcasts”, and a document shows that the NCAA knew “hidden” rosters were being used back in 2007. This news comes after an EA Sports exec said last year that the NCAA gave it the official OK to match up real names and with virtual jersey numbers — directly identifying actual players. And as AL.com reported, the NCAA is suing EA Sports for not protecting it during the aforementioned settlement proceedings.

What’s more, in exchange for the ability to pack its games with player likenesses, EA agreed to sprinkle in “academic-related features.” That’s why “academic prestige” is part of the recruiting pitch options in Dynasty mode and explains the inclusion of player suspensions in previous releases. You know, the whole “violation of team rules” type thing? The O’Bannon lawsuit is still in progress, so it could be quite a while before we find out just how much those player likenesses were really worth.

[Image credit: NCAA Football 14/EA Sports]

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Photoshop and Premiere Elements 12 now available, learn editing preferences

Photoshop and Premiere Elements 12 now available, learn editing preferences

Adobe’s Creative Cloud not your thing? Photoshop and Premiere Elements 12 have just arrived to please your subscription-averse (and beginner-level) nature. The latest version of the outfit’s photo suite features Content-Aware Move for shifting objects within a photo and having the resulting gaps filled in, the ability to correct flash reflections in animals’ eyes and 64-bit support for Macs. Elements Mobile Albums are new to this release as well, and they let users view, edit and share photos on mobile devices through the firm’s Revel solution. Premiere Elements boasts motion tracking to move graphics, text and effects with objects, upwards of 250 sound effects and more than 50 soundtracks that rearrange themselves to fit the length of footage. Both the video and photo editing packages sport Auto Smart Tone, which learns a user’s editing preferences and serves them up in a one-click option.

While both programs have picked up a healthy share of upgrades, the pricing model remains unchanged. Mac and Windows versions are now available online from Adobe for $100, or $150 when purchased in a bundle. Upgrades are set at $80 for each, or $120 when the pair are snapped up together. As for boxed copies of the software, they’ll be available soon form brick-and-mortar shops and online retailers.

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New Versions of Adobe’s No 1. Consumer Photo and Video Editing Tools Now Available

Powerful Mobile Capabilities Make Photos and Videos Accessible Anywhere, Any Time, on Multiple Devices

SAN JOSE, Calif. -Sept. 24, 2013 – Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the availability of Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 12 and Adobe® Premiere® Elements 12, new versions of the No. 1 selling consumer photo and video-editing software*. Customers will enjoy powerful mobile capabilities, and reap the benefits of professional-grade editing technology delivered in an intuitive experience that makes it easy to create stunning results.

Exceptional Mobility
“Our customers have a lot of photos and videos, and they love to use their home computers to organize them and be creative, but they also want the freedom and flexibility to view, edit and share on their mobile devices,” said Lea Hickman, vice president products, Creative Consumer Business, Adobe. “Photoshop Elements 12 and Premiere Elements 12 will provide customers with the best of both worlds, quickly, easily and at their discretion.”

Easily Create and Share Sensational Photos with Photoshop Elements 12 with new features and tools that include:
Mobile Access – With Elements Mobile Albums, customers always have access to their precious memories. Powered by Adobe® Revel™, people can view, edit and share their photos and videos seamlessly on their smartphones, tablets and desktop devices whether at home or on-the-go.

Content-Aware Move – This exclusive Adobe technology lets customers easily move objects within a photo and automatically fills in resulting empty spaces.

Pet Eye Correction – Added in response to customer requests, Pet Eye provides an easy solution to the problem of flash reflection in animals’ eyes, which is not addressed by Red Eye correction technology.

Auto Smart Tone – Exclusive intelligent software that learns a customer’s editing preferences, resulting in one-click adjustments based on their choices, which gets better the more you use it.

Quick Frames, Effects and Textures – One-click photo frames, effects and textures, inspired by the most popular looks customers have been creating in Expert mode.

Guided Edits – Step-by-step instructions to create Zoom Burst and Photo Puzzle effects, as well as Restore Old Photo, which enable users to restore damaged or old photos.

Straighten Tool – Now fills in missing edges through the use of exclusive Content-Aware technology.
Share to Twitter – Share a photo with a tweet on Twitter.

64-bit support for Mac – Allows for more efficient use of your computers’ built in memory, maximizing performance and enabling larger image files and videos to be edited quickly.

Create Unforgettable Movies with ease with Premiere Elements 12. New features and tools include:
Guided Edits – Step-by-step navigation on how to get started, trim frames, add scores, transitions, titles and narrations, as well as animating graphics and creating pictures within pictures.

Scores – More than 50 soundtracks that automatically regenerate to fit the duration of a clip, making it easy to create home movies with perfectly timed intros, outros and background music.

Sound Effects – More than 250 effects that add excitement and dimension to audio tracks.

Auto Smart Tone – The same exclusive technology found in Photoshop Elements 12, for video.

Film Looks – Four new filters to add stylized Hollywood flare to home movies including Comic, Trinity, Yesteryear and Cross Process.

Motion tracking – Spotlight your subject by adding graphics, text and effects that move with the object.

Pricing and Availability

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and Adobe Premiere Elements 12 (Mac and Windows) are immediately available for purchase at www.adobe.com for US$99.99, with upgrade pricing of US$79.99. The Photoshop Elements 12 & Premiere Elements 12 bundle is available now for US$149.99, with upgrade pricing of US$119.99. They will soon be available at retail stores such as Adorama Camera, Inc, Amazon.com, B & H Photo and Video, Best Buy, Best Buy Canada, New Egg, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples and Staples Canada.

Adobe Revel is an app available for iOS and Windows devices. The app is free for up to 50 photo or video uploads per month.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is coming to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile

Samsung's Galaxy S5 is coming to Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile

Long gone are the days of prepaid carriers being stuck with low-end smartphones. Need proof? That’s easy: Sprint has announced that both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile will carry Samsung’s Galaxy S5 in the second quarter of the year, or sometime around the worldwide launch in April. Neither wireless brand is giving out prices at this stage, although it’s safe to presume that the brand new, Spark-compatible flagship will carry a premium. Even so, its presence should be welcome to Boost and Virgin customers who’ve had to go without high-end Galaxies.

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EA Sports, Origin head Andrew Wilson named new Electronic Arts CEO

EA Sports, Origin head Andrew Wilson named new Electronic Arts CEO

Following the resignation of CEO Job Riccitiello back in March, Electronic Arts has announced that the head of EA Sports, Andrew Wilson, has been named as the successor. Wilson also served as an executive producer of the FIFA franchise and EVP of Origin. Chairman of the Board and former CEO Larry Probst led the company during the search that ultimately ended up hiring from within. In a blog post, Wilson committed to delivering the outfit’s 2014 fiscal year goals with focus on “continued transformation for our digital future, delivering amazing games and services across platforms and instilling a culture of execution that will drive profitable growth.” The new chief has little time to settle in though, as the next-gen console launches are just two months away.

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Engadget Podcast 386 – 2.28.14

Engadget Podcast 386 - 2.28.14

With most of the regular crew away, Terrence decides to call in some heavy-duty reinforcements. Richard joins us with critical insights into HD and the Netflix bottleneck debacle. Meanwhile, Brad is perfect for a providing a rundown of the best from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including first-hand insight into Samsung’s newest devices. There’s plenty to learn by tuning in this week, so head to the streaming links for the full episode of the Engadget Podcast.

Hosts: Terrence O’Brien, Richard Lawler, Brad Molen

Producer: Jon Turi

Hear the podcast:

02:37 – MWC 2014
03:29 – Hands-on with Nokia’s X family of Android smartphones
11:53 – Samsung Galaxy S5 preview: simpler in some ways, more ‘glam’ in others
23:46 – Meet Samsung’s new smartwatch family: the Gear 2, Neo and Fit
38:50 – No, Netflix’s deal with Comcast won’t destroy the internet
40:01 – Netflix’s internet provider claims companies causing streaming bottlenecks
46:23 – Netflix deal with Comcast sends its traffic — and money — directly to the ISP instead of middlemen
52:02 – Federal Reserve has no authority to regulate Bitcoin, according to Chairwoman
54:39 – US Senator asks for a Bitcoin ban, but don’t hold your breath
54:52 – Popular Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy protection

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Connect with the hosts on Twitter: @terrenceobrien, @rjcc, @phonewisdom
Email us: podcast [at] engadget [dot] com

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Sprint announces Virgin Mobile hotspot with Spark LTE support, adds six new markets

Sprint announces Virgin Mobile hotspot with Spark LTE support, adds six new markets

Most carriers shy away from offering LTE on its prepaid plans, but Sprint is diving right in by making it available on its first Virgin Mobile device. The network will take advantage of Sprint’s Spark service, which will offer tri-band LTE support at faster speeds on the company’s Broadband2Go plans. The first device to leverage it is the Netgear Mingle, which is essentially a red version of Sprint’s Zing (pictured above). You can get the fast service at a cost of $5 per day, or you can choose monthly plans of 1.5GB for $25 or 6GB fof $55. Additionally, Sprint announced that it will launch Spark in six more cities: Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Lauderdale.

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EA cancels college football title for 2014 amid ongoing legal disputes, lack of NCAA support (update)

EA cancels college football title for 2014 amid ongoing legal disputes, lack of NCAA support (update)

A few months back, EA Sports announced that the 2014 installment of its wildly popular college football franchise wouldn’t carry the NCAA label after the governing body chose not to renew its licensing contract. Today, the gaming outfit has announced that there will not be a campus-packed release… at all. Admitting that the choice was “profoundly disappointing,” GM of American Football for EA Sports Cam Weber cited lawsuits with student-athletes over the use of their likeness without compensation as a cause for the decision. Of course, this is compounded by the NCAA and a number of conferences (Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 included) no longer supporting the game. “The ongoing legal issues combined with increased questions surrounding schools and conferences have left us in a difficult position – one that challenges our ability to deliver an authentic sports experience,” Weber wrote in a blog post. EA also pledged a commitment to NCAA Football 14 that’s already in consoles of the faithful where, no matter what, Johnny Football is still celebrating the same way.

Update: Moments after EA posted the above news, the company announced that it and the CLC (Collegiate Licensing Company) had settled “all claims” with Sam Keller and Ed O’Bannon for using their names and more. This leaves the NCAA as the remaining defendant in the lawsuit over use of player likenesses. For more on the filing, consult the coverage links that follows.

EA cancels college football title for 2014 amid ongoing legal disputes, lack of NCAA support (update)

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