Samsung Gear VR headset getting Xbox controller support

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There are plenty of good controllers you can use your Samsung Gear VR with, but gamers can get pretty picky when it comes to their accessories. The Xbox controller continues to be a favorite among users, which means many of you have something to celebrate today.

Microsoft has decided to add Xbox controller support to the Samsung Gear VR headset. The first game to support Microsoft’s gamepad will be Minecraft: Gear VR Edition, thanks to update that is scheduled to come in early October. The Redmond-based company will continue to focus on bringing support to other controller-enabled games in the future.

Samsung Gear VR CES 2016-AA

best-bluetooth-controllers-aa-23See also: Best Android game controllers31

Other than supported games, requirements include a Bluetooth-supported Xbox controller and the latest firmware (version 3.1.1220.0).

Samsung’s headset continues to be a great way to experience virtual reality without spending too much (given that you already own a supported Samsung device). And now that you can use one of the best gaming controllers in the industry with it, the deal just got a lot sweeter. Are any of you looking forward to experience VR with the Xbox wireless controller? I am!

Google rumored to announce Wifi, Home and Chromecast Ultra hardware on October 4th

google home 3-Google IO 2016

The rumor mill spins strong as we approach Google’s October 4th event, where the company is expected to unveil its latest hardware. We are now hearing the new Pixel phones won’t be taking the stage alone, though. Sources claim the Search Giant will also announce a few other products for the home.

Among these are Google Wifi, Google Home and the Google Chromecast Ultra. Want to learn more about them? Let’s dig in.


Google Wifi

Not happy with Google’s OnHub routers? Google is said to be coming up with a brand new router that will take your internet further… literally. Google Wifi’s main feature is the ability to link together multiple access points to create one large wireless network.

In essence, it would be a simplified (and glorified) system of Wifi range extenders. Or at least that is what it would seem like. It would be great for large houses or offices, especially considering how easy it is to operate one of Google’s routers. It is believed the administrator can simply operate Google Wifi through the OnHub app.

It should have smart features, but don’t expect too much. The rumored price point is $129, which is much cheaper than the OnHub routers.

Google ASUS OnHubSee also: Google OnHub router hands-on impressions6

Google Home

Remember Google Home? It was announced at Google IO and we have already covered it. It is pretty much a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo, but with Google’s services at its core. It is much like a stationary Google Assistant. Some of the core features here include the ability to answer your questions using Google Search, track weather, provide other information, organize your itinerary and more.

In addition, this gadget can play your music or cast content to other supported devices. It should be a neat smart product to have around, and it is said to cost $129. Convinced?

google home 3-Google IO 2016See also: Google Home officially announced, takes aim at Amazon Echo2

Google Chromecast Ultra

We have been hearing rumors of a supercharged Chromecast being in the works, and it seems it will be named the Chromecast Ultra. This will be a 4K-capable Chromecast that is now rumored to cost $69.

But isn’t that a bit pricey? Well, yes it is. That is nearly double the price of the regular Chromecast. But it is said to be a much more powerful device, supporting extreme definitions and HDR.

chromecast 2015 review aa (1 of 26)See also: Chromecast 2015 and Chromecast Audio Review20

What do you guys think of those newly rumored devices and price points? Are you interested in buying any of these handsets?

Remember, these are still rumors and nothing is for sure until an announcement comes around. Keep it tuned to Android Authority to learn more! The October 4th event is right around the corner.

Replaced Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices still having battery issues

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been taking the heat of a major recall due to battery issues and phones catching fire. All affected devices are to get replaced, but it seems the new handsets are still not free of battery woes.

South Korean TV network YTN reports continued issues with exchanged Galaxy Note 5 smartphones. New units are said to be suffering from overheating problems and quick battery power loss.

We knew Samsung wanted to limit the battery from reaching its full capacity. This does mean the new phones should discharge faster, but these reports are disclosing rather extreme cases.

A user, surnamed Choi, claims his phone is draining at 1% per second, despite the phone being plugged in. After leaving it charging all night, his phone never reached even 10%.

What gives? We are not sure if this is happening only in Korea or around the world. We also don’t know if these are isolated events, but a Samsung Spokesperson claims they are, and says these are actually not problems related to the battery. Go figure!

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices have started making their way to the USA again, so hit the comments to let us know if you have been experiencing any issues with them.

Lockheimer Uses Android’s Birthday to Hype Upcoming Pixels

Today marks the 8th birthday for Android. It was eight years ago today that the company announced the T-Mobile G1, or as it was known outside of the US, the HTC Dream. Hiroshi Lockheimer, the SVP of Android, Google Play and Chrome, took to Twitter to subtly hype the upcoming announcement that Google has planned for October 4th. Which is expected to be when the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones are announced by the search giant. Lockheimer’s Tweet read, “We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today. I have a feeling 8 years from now we’ll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.”

As the SVP of Android, Google Play and Chrome, it’s basically his job to hype up the announcement. Just as he did the announcement of Android N’s actual name, before it was unveiled earlier this summer as Nougat. So this shouldn’t be surprising. However, he is hyping up the announcement in front of the core audience that buys Nexus devices, also known as the hardcore tech users. And if the rumors regarding pricing of the Pixel smartphones are correct, this audience isn’t going to be too happy with Lockheimer.

Google has already sent out invitations to their October 4th event in San Francisco, where the company is expected to announce these two new smartphones made by HTC. Ironically, the same company that made the T-Mobile G1 which started it all for Android – they also made the original Nexus in 2010. However, that’s not all that Google has in store for this event on October 4th, as recent leaks have shown us. It appears that Google has a slew of other announcements coming at this event, including Google WiFi, Chromecast Ultra and so much more. We’re also expecting to see Daydream launch, as well as Android Wear 2.0 and possibly Android 7.1 – which is rumored to launch on the Pixel and Pixel XL.

Lockheimer is doing a great job at hyping up the upcoming announcement. Now the big question is going to be whether the announcement actually holds up to that hype. We have just over a week before we’ll know the answer to that.

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Xiaomi Teases Mi 5s’ Ceramic Body And Tapered Back

Regardless of how the next Xiaomi flagship is going to be called—and Phone Arena reports that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is still undecided on the name—there’s no doubt that the Beijing-based company is getting ready to release a device which will both succeed and outperform the already quite powerful Xiaomi Mi 5. As we’re still impatiently waiting for the consumer electronics giant to officially unveil its latest and greatest smartphone, the company is understandably using this anticipation to build up some additional hype for its product. Namely, the firm has just released another teaser for Xiaomi Mi 5s which reveals just enough to spark a discussion without actually showing us all that much.

The said promotional image which can be seen below states that the successor to the Xiaomi Mi 5 will also feature a ceramic body and will likely have a tapered back. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it as there is still no mention of a release date or even a release window for the device and the Chinese smartphone manufacturer continues to be tight-lipped about the details on its upcoming flagship. Still, not everything surrounding this device is a complete mystery as numerous leaks from several sources have already revealed quite a bit. That isn’t to say all of these leaks are completely accurate and even if they were, there’s always a possibility that Xiaomi decides to slightly change the device prior to giving the green light for mass production. However, as all of the aforementioned sources are pretty much claiming the same thing, one can at least reasonably assume to know what Xiaomi has been toying with recently.

More specifically, Xiaomi Mi 5s has been rumored to sport a 5.5-inch OLED screen boasting a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, the latest Snapdragon 821 CPU, and the Adreno 530 GPU, along with 4 to 6GB of RAM. In addition to that, the device will be running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and boast a 3,700mAh battery while the manufacturer is rumored to be planning both the 64 and 128GB version. Regarding other features, the next Xiaomi flagship will allegedly be equipped with a fingerprint scanner and a 12-megapixel rear camera which will supposedly make use of Sony’s renowned IMX260 and ISOCELL S5K2L1 sensors. That last part is especially interesting given how the two sensors don’t feature identical apertures but it would probably be wise to wait for an official announcement before jumping to any conclusions. Last but not least, as Xiaomi is rumored to be toying with a couple of different amounts of RAM and storage space, it’s entirely possible that the Chinese company actually releases two similar but differently named versions of the Mi 5 successor.

xiaomi-mi5s-teaser-september-2016

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Snapchat’s Smart Spectacles Commercial Leaks Online

Reports of Snapchat going into the wearable business aren’t anything new. Ever since the company behind the popular multimedia social app purchased Epiphany Eyewear, a firm which manufactured fashionable glasses with integrated cameras back in early 2015, it was pretty clear that Snapchat intends to come up with its own alternative to Google Glass. Well, it seems that the Californian company may be closer to launching a finished product than one would have thought as a commercial for something called Spectacles has just leaked online. The video clip features one fashionable pair of smart sunglasses and one happy family having some fun in their backyard during fall. The entire commercial only shows a glimpse of Snapchat’s first wearable so the only thing that’s clear is that the thereof boasts a camera embedded in its frame and that the said camera is surrounded by a ring of LED lights.

Near the end of the video, there’s a scene which implies easy smartphone integration as two grandparents are watching all of the fun recorded with Snapchat’s smart sunglasses on their phone. The leaked commercial ends with a “Spectacles by Snap Inc.” message and gives no further info on when can we expect this curious gadget to hit the market. As noted by Business Insider, the connected glasses featured in the video look mighty similar to what Snap Inc’s CEO Evan Spiegel was filmed wearing last year so it’s to be presumed that Spectacles have already undergone quite a bit of testing. Of course, the sole fact that this commercial exists also suggests that this pair of smart sunglasses may soon be available for purchase as manufacturers rarely invest resources into promotional materials for a prototype that’s years away from hitting the consumer electronics market.

You can watch the full Spectacles commercial by following the source link below. Alternatively, the only part of the video which showcases the actual glasses has been converted into a GIF for extra convenience and can also be seen underneath. Earlier this month, we’ve heard reports of Snapchat joining the Bluetooth Special Interest Group which was a strong hint that the Californian company is working on at least one piece of hardware with Bluetooth functionality. With this commercial now being leaked online, that fact has basically been confirmed and the only thing that remains is to wait for Snap Inc’s official announcement of Spectacles.

snapchat-spectacles-smart-glasses-commercial

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Hiroshi Lockheimer is on the Pixel hype train

OK, we get it. As the SVP of Android, Chrome and Google Play Lockheimer should be amped about the things to come. We'd go as far as saying that's his job. So what makes this particular time a company executive praising his products worth talking about?

He's comparing the coming Pixel phones (all but confirmed to be coming on October 4) to Android's debut with the T-Mobile G1. And he's doing it in front of all the die-hard Android nerds who are going to hold him to it.

We have limited information about what's in store come October. We gather that the rebranding of Google's Nexus line with the Pixel name means a more active involvement from Google in all areas — from design and software to advertising and support. Think of them as HTC phones made for someone else like HTC used to do for HP and Palm — yes, your old Treo 650 was made by HTC. This means Google is the company who will see these phones succeed or fail. And Lockheimer is betting on success.

We have to wait a few more weeks to see the Pixel phones for ourselves. And we'll have to wait even longer to say anything about their success. In the meantime, we'll take all the teasing you care to give us, Hiroshi.

Six Flags Rollercoaster Adds VR Experience With Gear VR

Virtual reality (VR) offers users an immersive way to experience exciting things in a way that feels almost as real as being there. Visiting exotic destinations, to flying through space, and riding rollercoasters are just a few of the things you can do through VR. But now, you can immerse yourself in a VR world – while on an actual, real-life rollercoaster.

The Rage of the Gargoyles ride at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, starts off like any rollercoaster; the rider gets into the floorless ride and straps into a harness. That’s where things get interesting. Each rider is given a Samsung Gear VR headset equipped with a Galaxy S7 smartphone. From the start of the ride, guests use their VR headsets to look at a seat-specific QR code, which identifies their seating assignment and calibrates the headset to make sure that they have the correct starting position for their individual point on the rollercoaster. As the ride progresses through the real world, the player progresses through the virtual world with synchronized movement. In the virtual world, players must shoot down as many gargoyles as possible, which is done simply by looking at them, to achieve the highest score. After the ride, scores are available for players to compare. The Gear VR units have been modified for use in the rollercoaster to allow them to be better secured to the rider and more comfortable. Each headset includes a neck strap, chin strap, and a dial to adjust tightness. Wearing the headset is not required to ride the rollercoaster, so those who are not ready for the VR experience can still ride it in the traditional (though perhaps less exciting) manner, but the cost of riding the rollercoaster is the same with or without the headset.

The Gear VR is not a standalone VR headset in itself, but rather serves as a holder for a Galaxy smartphone, which does most of the work. Unlike other headsets that work with smartphones, however, the Gear VR is not just a holder; it does include sensors of its own to enhance the experience by increasing the accuracy of the head-tracking functionality. For those who already own Galaxy smartphones, it is a very affordable alternative to high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. Smartphone-based VR solutions like Gear VR have proven to have some notable advantages over other forms of VR, primarily in terms of mobility. They don’t require users to be tied to a PC or game console, so they can be taken anywhere. This makes Gear VR the perfect choice for use with rollercoasters, providing an immersive experience that can move with the viewer. To check out a video of the rollercoaster in action, head over to CNET via the source link below.

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Xiaomi Mi Box seen at Walmart shelf for $69

Xiaomi Mi Box

We are not sure if this was a mistake or a very discrete release, but it seems a few Xiaomi Mi Box devices have managed to make it to an unknown Walmart location’s shelves. But that is only part of the exciting news. What is really getting us going is that we are finally seeing a solid price tag attached to the product.

This photo displays a $69 price point, which happens to be quiet the deal. Keep in mind the Mi Box is no slouch; it can play 4K video at 60 fps and comes with all the goods any worthy Android TV can sport.

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Mi Box specs:

  • 60fps 4K video decoding
  • HDR10 and HDMI 2.0a support
  • Dolby Digital Plus + DTS surround sound
  • Bluetooth voice remote
  • USB port for additional storage
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • Optional Mi Game Controller for a console-grade gaming experience

All things considered, this information seems pretty legit. It’s hard to fake 3 Xiaomi Mi Boxes, after all. Not to mention we have heard the box will cost under $100 and the $69 price point gets really close to the Chinese cost.

xiaomi-mi-box-1See also: Xiaomi Mi Box “coming soon to the US” – here are some details8

Even if this was a simple mistake by Walmart employees, the fact that the device is out there must mean the actual release date is soon.

Are you trying to get yourself a Xiaomi Mi Box? It might be worth checking out your local Walmart!

Google’s Self-Driving Car Damaged Badly In An Accident

Google first debuted its self-driving car project back in 2010 and has come quite a long way since its inception. The company’s self-driving cars have come a long way since then, now with the ability to share the road with cyclists, and to also detect the lights of emergency vehicles, thus being able to give way to them. While, the Mountain View company is no stranger to accidents involving its fleet of autonomous vehicle, with quite a number of accidents having occurred in the past few years, one of the cars in its fleet has gotten into quite a major accident this time around. It should be noted that Google’s fleet of self-driving cars are rarely at fault when it comes to accidents involving them.

One of Google’s self-driving Lexus has recently gotten into an accident involving a commercial van. From what has been gathered so far, it seems like the van was at fault. This accidents also appears to be one of the worst accidents a Google self-driving has gotten into. If you take a look at the image from Twitter user Ron van Zuylen, which has been inserted at the end of this article, you can see that the right hand side of the car has been badly crumpled. In the background of the image, a commercial van can be seen being loaded on to a truck, and it can also be seen that the van has sustained some damage to its bumper. The location of the crash was at Mountain View, California, at the corner of W El Camino and Calderon Ave.

According to witnesses at the scene, dazed Google employees could be seen sitting around after the incident, waiting for their tow truck. The witnesses also mentioned that the Google self-driving car was not at fault based from their perspective, and it was entirely the van’s fault. Google has not responded to the accident yet, and it is unlikely to do so anytime soon. Instead, it is more likely that Google will detail this incident in its monthly self-driving car report which will be probably be released in the beginning of October.

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