Microsoft Details Xbox One Policies: Used Games, Kinect, And Internet Connectivity

xbox-one-xlIn what will go down as a bad day of news for Microsoft, the Xbox One’s restrictions have been detailed a little more clearly than at the announcement a few weeks back. The Xbox One needs to connect to the internet every 24 hours for games to work. “Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection,” says the statement from Microsoft. However, the Xbox On’s accounts can be used on other consoles to access digital libraries, but still restrictions apply: an hourly check of an internet connection will be put in place. Live TV, Blu-ray, and DVD movies will work without a connection check every 24 hours, as well.

As for used games, Microsoft set the record straight, stating that,”game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers,” and that the company “does not charge a platform fee to retailers, publishers, or consumers for enabling transfer of these games.” However, since most video game publishers are against the loaning of games, and Microsoft has announced that the loaning feature among Xbox Live friends won’t be present at launch, then the fact remains that used games won’t be as commonly seen.

A physical disc can be passed to someone in your Xbox list, but this it is a one-time, 30-day affair. Games can also be shared on a family library, to which 10 different users can sign in and use on the same Xbox One.

Lastly, probably the best bit of news is that the Kinect can be completely turned off to ensure no monitoring occurs.

Via:  Xbox Wire (1)Xbox Wire (2)Xbox Wire (3)

Brevity Review: Samsung Galaxy S 4 (Verizon Wireless)


Having already extensively reviewed the AT&T version of the Galaxy S 4, it takes very little to differ the original opinions that were mentioned — the S4 proves that Samsung is at its prime, creating a successful Android device that exists not only as a Samsung product, but now as a Google Edition device. Basically, for a full review, you should read the original.

But, in Verizon Wireless’s case, there’s a difference content: it’s service on the aforementioned network and AWS LTE support; and of course there’s also the carrier-branded apps. Check out Samsung’s latest LTE device, after the break.

BBM Is Probably Coming To Android And iOS On June 26th

bbm-androidAt least according to a tweet from T-Mobile UK, a global launch of BBM is expected to arrive on Android and iOS, this June 27th. Specifically, BBM would be available for anyone using  iOS 6 or Android 4.0 and up, with more of the core features seen on the BlackBerry 10 version of the popular messaging app. This may actually take off, and bring much-needed popularity to BlackBerry — ironically, on other platforms.

Via:  T-Mobile UK (Twitter)

Google Releases The Default Android Keyboard On The Play Store

Google Keyboard

From Google Editions of the most popular Android phones, to making core apps update-ready, Google has been fleshing out its brand muscle in everything that it does. The most recent step in their conquest of a new dominion? Releasing the fantastic (default) Android keyboard on the Play Store, calling it “Google Keyboard”. It has everything that a clean slate version of Android 4.2 would have: gesture typing, voice dictation, autocompletion, and support for both phones and tablets — all for the price of free.

The lowest version of Android required to download it is 4.0; there are going to be a ton of users upgrading to this app.

Via: Play Store, Google

Tweetdeck For Chrome Gets A Fresh Design Refresh

newtweetdeckIt’s time for changes. Tweetdeck for Chrome and the regular web-based app received a design refresh. It’s cleaner, faster, and better looking, especially on larger screen. A new sidebar allows you reveal more information about each icon in the app, but the same can be done by hovering your mouse’s cursor over said icon — they pertain to settings, filter, and all that jazz. It’s a nice little update, considering.

Via: Tweetdeck

Before June 26th Preview, Microsoft Uploads Windows 8.1 Promo Video


While it may not show how the new Start button works, Microsoft outed a video today that details a few of the features of Windows 8.1. Those include new Start Screen changes, UI improvements, and the new Search interface, as well as SkyDrive integration in Windows 8.1. By June 26th a public preview release of the update will be made available, but if that’s not your cup of tea, Microsoft has already confirmed existing users of Windows 8 will get the update for free, later this year.

Promo vid after the break.

ViaWindows Team Blog

Announced: Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active Makes Water And Drops A Routine

s4-activeComing to the US and Europe this summer is the Galaxy S 4 Active — a rugged version of the current S4. While sporting the IP67 water and dust protection — able to survive three feet of water for up to 30 minutes — as well as a 5-inch (TFT LCD) 1080p display (443 ppi), there’s an unspecified 1.9GHz quad-core processor to get the work done. Alongside LTE radios and Android 4.2.2, the GS4 Active packs an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, while the front-facer will take up to two-megapixel stills — a stark difference from the original S4’s 13 megapixel main camera.

To top off the package, there’s a water-resistant headphone jack, “aqua mode” to improve the camera’s performance underwater, and finally, Samsung’s screen enhancements (also on the original S4) that allows one to use gloves on the screen. In the US, the S4 Active will most likely launch on AT&T. Three color variants will be produced by Samsung: Urban Grey, Dive Blue and Orange Flare. No word on pricing, yet.

Press release , after the break. Via: Samsung

Sony’s New VAIO Laptops: The VAIO Pro 11 And 13 Ultrabooks, Plus Duo 13 Hybrid

VAIO Duo 13This one has had me itching, just to talk about it, and finally, here goes: Sony has three new laptops straight out of Computex 2013. First off, the Ultrabooks. Sony calls the VAIO pro 11 “the lightest 11.6-inch ultrabook”, weighing in at 1.92 lbs. then goes on to say the exact same, but for the 13.3-inch model that weighs 2.34 lbs. Both laptops sport 1920 x 1080p HD displays, called Triluminous displays, noted for their intense color qualities and contrasts.

Battery life for the Pro 11 is rated at 14 hours and life for he Pro 13 is rated at 13 hours (ironically). Going for exclusive features, the VAIO Pro 13 comes with a high speed PCIe SSD drive, which gives it a speed boost against other similar SSD designs. Both come with a range of Sony apps that assist with creation and also come with ClearAudio+ technology, which is supposed to enhance audio.

The Vaio Duo 13 hybrid computer also runs Windows 8, but sports a slightly different set of user inputs. It weighs 2.93 lbs., is incased in carbon fiber, sports NFC, Haswell processors, a variety of Sony apps for videos and photos, plus an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera. Sony is also boasting that its hinge design allows for easy transition between normal laptop and tablet modes, through simple sliding of the screen.

Of course, the most important spec in this day in age is really the processor, and all of the new VAIO PCs have fourth-generation Intel Haswell chips, the Pro 11 and Pro 13 supporting up to a Core i7. The VAIO Pro 11 will retail for $1149 and the Pro 13 for $1249 — both come in Carbon Black or or Carbon Silver. Meanwhile, the VAIO Duo 13 will go for $1399, in the same colors.

Hopefully Sony’s summer catalog of VAIO PCs will be just as exciting as they might be on paper. Otherwise, we have another set of refreshed laptops, rather than new exciting innovations, something Sony is well-versed in. It’s really hard not to be interested in these laptops.

Press release and more images, after the break.