Microsoft Band: A $200 Fitness Tracker, And It Might Be Alright

microsoft-bandOh, yes. Microsoft is in on the wearbles race now: the Band, a $199 fitness tracker is their first shot in 2014. Sync apps exist for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Fitness tracking variables include tracking steps (thanks to built-in GPS, it’s phone independent), heartbeat, calories burned and sleep quality. It can also display notifications from your mobile device or take notes and set reminders with Cortana (not bad).

A little history: the Microsoft Band was designed by Quentin Morris (who also developed the Xbox One controller), so of course, it carries ten sensors onboard to measure things from heart rate to UV exposure and even stress levels, while lasting 48 hours on a single charge — in its best case scenario. Availability; $199 Thursday in its online and physical stores, to US customers only.

Via: Microsoft Band

Project Ara Team Posts Progress, Google Books New Dev Meeting

tumblr_ne7rtfKOMA1skm0sgo1_1280The modular smartphone concept went from idea, to presenation, a new elite division at Google, and now a functioning model — just for the show of progress. While it’s nothing close to the polished concepts that Motorola showed off with Google and Phoneblocks earlier on, it does actually boot and feature some functionality.

Meanwhile, Google has booked its second Ara conference for January 14th at Mountain View; topics included an updated module development kit, showing off some unseen prototype, and details on how the pilot launch will work.

Via: Phoneblocks

Razer’s Levithan: A $200 Soundbar And Subwoofer Combo

razer-levithanFor $200, you get an adjustable speaker bar with four drivers and a separate 5.25-inch subwoofer. Razer calls it the Levithan, and it’s designed to make good use of Dolby Virtual Speakers to fill in the audio gaps left by its 4-speaker system, meanwhile Dolby Digital processing will convert any incoming signal, be it analog stereo or multichannel from an optical cable, to surround sound.

The Levithan also sports Bluetooth 4.0 connectivty that goes all the way down to the 20Hz range. This is interesting, because most would agree that the human ear cannot hear anything below the 24Hz range, so technically the four less Hertz would create bass that you’d feel like a wave, rather than processing as sound. 30w for the sound bar and 30w RMS for the subwoofer, and from an electrical engineer’s standpoint, you wonder how such little power could do so much.

We’ll know the truth, eventually.

Meanwhile, At Verizon: Meet The Droid Turbo, An Upgraded Moto X

vzw_droidturbo_960pxAfter months of speculation, the DROID brand lives. The Droid Turbo, a Verizon Wireless exlcusive smartphone coming out October 30th for $199.99 on contract  (32GB model) or $249.99 on contract (64GB model). The 5.2-inch display reamins, but is instead at an insane qHD resolution (four times the HD res on the new Moto X).

There’s a more powerful Snapdragon 805 processor, more RAM (3GB), a larger 3,900mAh battery (48 hours of use between charges), and a higher-resolution 21-megapixel camera — also included is 8 hours of battery life on just 15 minutes of charge.

Included at launch is Android 4.4 KitKat will be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop, after it is released. Including all the Moto X features — voice control, Moto Display, launching the camera via a twist gesture of the wrist.

Design of the device itself is drastically changed; it’s not as beautiful. Verizon offers a few colors choices: metallic black, metallic red, or what Verizon calls a “ballistic” black (with textured back).

Razer DeathAdder Chroma Review: Oh, Welcome The Colors

20141027_220046Traditionally, Razer products have always been in a sickly (but interesting) shade of green, when it comes to accents and lighting. But Lang and Co. have taken an interest in colored lighting variants — in fact, rainbows come to mind — so the Chroma series was born. All existing Razer hardware that gets the Chroma treatment is the same as before, but now pulsate with a variety of colors, instead of you know, just green.

Still, it’s worth checking out.

The Mobile Payment War Has Begun, Again: Apple Pay vs. CurrentC

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 8.36.22 PMSomehow, the mobile payment war has begun, and the competition hasn’t even launched yet. CurrentC, an NFC mobiel payment system designed to put into operation in 2015, is being backed by Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite-Aid, Best Buy and many others. By blocking Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the coalation has alientated millions of potential customers from paying for purchases with their phones.

All of this in the spirit of competition, not in spite, apparently. But, take into account the ironic stature that CurrentC is in: not a single bank backs CurrentC — banks do back Apple Pay, however.

Via: iMore

Google CEO Larry Page Gave Sundar Pichai Control Over Everything — Almost

2013_Sundar_Pichai_Chromebook_Pixel_2_610x487This is an interesting turn of events. Google CEO Larry Page has extended Sundar Pichai’s control over the company, which already encompassed Android and Chrome. Page has in fact, paged (or sent a memo, rather) to all employees of the company, stating that Pichai will lead nearly all of the company’s major product division. This includes search, Maps, Google+, commerce, research, plus ads and infrastructure.

Senior executives that would cover those fields and report to Page will now report to Pichai. It’s a funny situation, if anything.

So, what does Page do now? Apparently, he will continue to manage Google’s business and operations, while also focusing on “the bigger picture” for the company.

And now, Pichai is one of the most powerful men in Mountian View.

Via: Recode

Microsoft Teases Upcoming November Xbox One Update

xbox-one-logo-wallpaperFresh off the servers with the October update, Microsoft is already toughting what’s coming for November. For a quick refresher: October brought a dedicated Friends tab, better social integration in general, and bug fixes. November aims to take that a step higher, by introducing cusotm backgrounds, Twitter for TV, extra details for profiles, and better game clip sharing to social media or strictly to friends on Xbox Live.

Video demo of it in action, after the break. Via: Xbox Wire