Add-on brings Game Boy cartridges to your Android phone

Hyperkin toyed with gamers last year when it teased a peripheral that would play real Game Boy cartridges on your phone, but it wasn’t just kidding around — it’s making good on its word. The company is now taking pre-orders for a Smart Boy Development Kit that lets your Android smartphone play Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges. The $ 60 peripheral isn’t meant for everyday use — Hyperkin is hoping you’ll improve the open source code yourself. Nonetheless, it’s likely the closest you’ll get to reviving your childhood short of dragging the original hardware out of storage. Just be ready to wait until December 1st to get yours… and while Hyperkin originally talked about an iPhone version, Apple handset users are out of luck so far.

Via: SlashGear, Neowin, Gizmodo

Source: Hyperkin

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Driverless cars could be the future of racing

Translogic host Jonathon Buckley heads to Thunderhill Raceway for the first Autonomous Track Day. We caught up with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and event organizer Joshua Schachter to find out if driverless cars will ever race themselves. “That would be fun,” said Schachter. “We have to make sure it’s interesting. If it’s just robots driving perfectly, that’s not exciting.”

“I think we’ll figure it out.”

We also check in with George Hotz, originally famous for unlocking the iPhone and now builder of driverless cars. Hotz shared his story of how he got involved with autonomous technology through a disagreement with Elon Musk.

“Elon Musk was originally going to give me money to build this for his Tesla,” said Hotz of his driverless car. “Elon changed the deal at the last minute, said no…[I] bought this car, made it drive itself.”

TRANSLOGIC

  • Click here to find more episodes of Translogic
  • Click here to learn more about our host, Jonathon Buckley

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iPhone 7 may keep the headphone jack and support dual SIMs

One of the most intriguing rumors about the upcoming iPhone 7 is that it’ll ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning users will have to get audio output via Lightning or Bluetooth. But according to a leakster, this may no longer be the case. Rock Fix, a smartphone repair shop based in China’s Ganzhou, has recently been posting photos of alleged iPhone 7 components. One of these is apparently the 4.7-inch model’s Lightning cable assembly which, contrary to what we’ve been hearing before, still has a headphone jack attached to it. And more recently, the shop shared photos of what it claims to be the next iPhone’s dual-SIM trays, which will be a first for Apple if true.

Other parts shown off by Rock Fix include some screen panels in the usual two sizes, some SanDisk memory chips of up to a whopping 256GB, plus a dual-lens camera for the larger model (hello, Huawei!). The shop owner also told us that there will be some changes to the antenna design, though he clarified that this won’t get rid of those antenna bands on the back of the phone; maybe it’s more to do with the rumored switch to Intel’s modem for the GSM models.

Despite such recent leaks, there’s still some uncertainty regarding the iPhone 7’s features. For one, just three days ago, an industry insider claimed he heard from a Foxconn source saying Apple had canned the dual-lens camera because the technology wasn’t ready, but the following day another insider shot this rumor down, as he had heard from multiple suppliers saying the tooling was already made and that it’d be too late to change it (a self-proclaimed Foxconn employee commented below this Weibo post to say mass production started last month). He added that Samsung, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are also exploring dual-lens cameras for their upcoming smartphones, so it’ll be interesting to see what the mobile industry will offer in the coming months.

Source: Rock Fix (1), (2)

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Amazon’s Echo Dot is a great way to bring Alexa to more rooms

I haven’t been shy about my love for the Amazon Echo. I wake up with it, and aside from my phone, computers and TV, it’s one of the gadgets I rely most on most throughout the day. So when Amazon announced the $ 90 Echo Dot, which brings all of its larger sibling’s features to any speaker, I was onboard before you could say “Alexa, what’s the weather?” I couldn’t wait to bring Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, which is the heart of soul of the Echo, into my bedroom (ahem) and office. It took a long while for the Echo Dot to finally reach me (Amazon, once again, refused to make it available early for reviewers), but after a week of living with it on my nightstand, I’m finding it just as useful as the original.

Let’s make this clear up front: You still can’t buy an Echo Dot on its own. The only way to order one is to ask Alexa on an Echo or Fire TV to order it for you and wait several weeks. Amazon is clearly positioning it as a secondary device, which makes sense for most people, but also seems like a bafflingly restrictive choice in this day and age. Perhaps the company just wanted to limit its first available units to Echo users, especially since it’s had trouble producing enough devices in the past.

The actual process of buying the Echo Dot was smooth and easy — almost worryingly so. It’s strange to just say a few words and then have a $ 90 gadget headed towards your home. You’ve been able to buy things via the Echo with voice commands for a while now, but that’s something I’ve never done before the Dot. At most, I would ask Alexa to add a few items to my shopping cart or wish list. It reminds me of when, in 2009, I bought my 50-inch plasma TV via Amazon’s iPhone app — a moment of ludicrously convenient big-ticket consumerism that I remember to this day. Now, you don’t even need to look at a screen before you fork over money to Amazon.

Setting up the Echo Dot is only slightly more involved than with its larger sibling, mainly because you have to plug in an auxiliary cable, in addition to a power cord. You’ll have to use Amazon’s Alexa iOS or Android app to get the Echo Dot connected to WiFi, which typically only takes a few minutes. The Alexa app is also where you can manage the Echo Dot’s settings, as well as its “skills,” or connections to third-party services. You can also go through voice training with the app to help your Echo Dot understand you better.

The Dot feels like a large hockey puck: It’s basically the top part of the original Echo sitting on its own. There are two buttons on top for disabling the microphone and enabling Bluetooth pairing. To control the volume, you just need to turn the top portion of the device, which also lights up with LEDs to show you the sound levels. While it has a small built-in speaker, the entire appeal of the Echo Dot is its ability to connect to a beefier system. Once it’s plugged in, it’ll turn anything, even a decades-old amplifier setup, into a smart speaker. It’s also a useful accessory if you’ve already invested in modern speaker systems like Sonos. The Echo Dot has the same beam-forming seven microphone array that sits atop the original Echo, so it’s just as accurate when it comes to hearing your commands, even in moderately noisy rooms.

Currently, I have a large Echo set up in my living room and the Echo Dot about 30 feet away in my bedroom. When standing between them, they’re equally as fast at determining my voice commands and bringing back responses. (It’s truly weird occasionally hearing a symphony of Alexa responses in my apartment.) Since they’re plugged into power continuously, the Echo devices are better about listening for potential voice commands than phone virtual assistants like Siri and Google Now. Alexa doesn’t have to worry about conserving battery life, after all.

With the Echo Dot connected to an older Logitech speaker on my nightstand, it worked like a charm. Audio quality was solid, and being able to shout Alexa commands from under the comfort of my duvet felt downright luxurious. The only potential issue? Your speakers, naturally, need to be turned on for the Echo Dot to work. In the interest of energy conservation, that’s not something I’m willing to do 24/7. So I’ve taken to disconnecting the Echo Dot from my bedroom speaker most of the day, and instead relying on its embedded speaker for simple commands. When I want to listen to music or online radio, I just plug the speaker in. It would be nice if future versions of the Echo Dot gave you an easy way to automatically switch between its speaker options (or better yet, do it automatically).

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

The Echo Dot sounded great when connected to my elaborate home theater setup, which consists of a Denon S910W receiver and Pioneer Elite tower front and center speakers (I don’t use my rear speakers for music). Just like with the original, you can ask the Echo Dot to play your playlists from Amazon Music, as well as other services including Pandora and Spotify (after connecting to them with the Alexa app). While actual music performance will depend on the service you’re listening to, I didn’t hear many hints of compression with Pandora streams, which is among the lower-quality options. True audiophiles will still prefer using something like the new Chromecast Audio on big speaker setups, though, since that gives you the option of using an optical cable to let your amplifier handle audio processing. Your only option with the Echo Dot is a standard 3.5mm cable.

If you live in a smaller apartment, there’s a good chance you don’t actually need two separate Alexa devices. If I shout loudly enough from my bedroom, the Echo in my kitchen usually hears me. Still, it’s nice being able to have a closer device for voice commands, especially if you’re trying to set an alarm late at night. If you’re looking for a secondary Echo device and don’t have any extra speakers, Amazon’s $ 130 Tap speaker might be a better option for you. And if you just want to jump into Amazon’s ecosystem, the original Echo is still a great product at $ 180.

The Echo Dot is the very definition of a niche device. It’s meant to be connected to expensive gear that many people don’t have, and the future of voice-powered digital assistants is still uncertain. But for Alexa addicts who have decent sound systems, it’s the perfect virtual companion.

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Shazam’s background listening feature comes to Android

Shazam can build you a Spotify playlist, help you discover new tunes and identify magazines, but song recognition is still at the heart of the app. Even with this core feature getting faster and quicker to start up, sometimes it can still be a race to ask for Shazam’s ear before the DJ drops the next track. In the latest update to its Android app, though, Shazam has added the ‘Auto’ background listening feature so you never have to let a hot beat pass you by.

You still need to open Shazam to enable Auto mode — a feature that came to the iPhone version two and half years ago — but that’s a good thing. It’s described as “battery friendly,” but the app will stay active in the background, draining that bit more of your precious juice. You can at least leave it running while your favorite radio show is on, though, and if you just happen to get a perfect score on the music round at your next quiz night, fear not: Your secret’s safe with us.

Via: Ubergizmo

Source: Shazam (Google Play)

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‘1979 Revolution’ arrives on iOS following Iranian ban

Shortly after its release in Iran, the country’s government banned the sale of 1979 Revolution, a game that allows players to witness the unrest as a photojournalist. Created by former Rockstar Games developer Navid Khonsari, the title combines video games and documentary filmmaker for a first-hand look at the events in Tehran in the late 1970s. The Iranian government didn’t think too highly of the project, as the National Foundation for Computer Games (NFCG) announced a plan to block sites like Steam and others that were selling the game less than two days after its April release. The NFCG called it “Anti-Iranian” and proceeded to confiscate copies of the title as well.

As another way to offer 1979 Revolution, Khnosari’s Ink Stories studio worked on an iOS version that’s available today. Bringing the game iPad and iPhone was always part of the plan, despite a PC and Mac release earlier this year. Once you download it, you’ll play through the campaign as photojournalist Reza Shirazi, the main character who returned to Tehran to document the events of 1978. As you might expect, Shirazi gets swept up in the covert happenings of the revolution, needing to act carefully to save himself and others.

Khonsari, who worked on Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise, was born in Iran and interviewed over 50 scholars on the events alongside is wife and co-producer. What’s more, he collected 1,500 photos in addition to home movies and audio recordings for use in the game. In fact, some of the audio is from speeches made by revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini. The mobile game will set you back $ 5 and it’s available now in the iTunes App Store.

Source: iTunes

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AT&T brings WiFi calling to Android phones

Hey, AT&T subscribers: you no longer need an iPhone to make calls over WiFi. The carrier has introduced WiFi calling for Android. If you have a supporting device (currently limited to the LG G4), a postpaid plan and HD Voice support, you can grab an update that lets you make calls over the internet when cell service just isn’t an option. As on the iPhone, what you pay for a call only depends on who you’re calling — you can reach a US number at no extra charge while you’re abroad. AT&T certainly isn’t the first out of the gate with WiFi calling on Android, but this will definitely make a difference if you’d rather not switch networks just to get the improved coverage.

Source: AT&T

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Facebook adds SMS to Messenger for Android

A few months ago, Facebook was reported to be testing SMS integration in its Messenger app for Android. Now, that feature is officially live. It’s entirely optional, so you’ll need to enable it. To do so, head over to Settings in the Messenger app, select “SMS” and then choose “Default SMS app.” This means all of your text messages will be sent and received on the Messenger app. Your SMS conversations will be in purple to differentiate them from the default Messenger blue.

Interestingly, SMS in Messenger doesn’t support just text and images. It also supports rich content like stickers, GIFs, emojis and location sharing — just like regular Messenger conversations. Facebook also wanted to clarify that none of the messages are stored on the company’s servers; all of the text messages are sent via SMS as per usual. That does mean that regular texting fees do apply.

This feature is only for the Android app due to the limitations of iOS. But seeing as Apple’s own Messaging is getting a lot of these Messenger-like enhancements — emojis, stickers etc — iPhone users probably aren’t missing out too much.

Source: Facebook

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PS Vita slasher ‘Severed’ is coming to iOS, 3DS and Wii U

Back in April developer Drinkbox Studios, best known for the colorful platformer Guacamelee!, launched a little game called Severed on the PlayStation Vita. As much as we love Sony’s handheld, it’s not a popular system, so we’re not surprised to hear that the game is headed to other platforms. Specifically, the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U and iOS. If you need a quick recap, Severed is a first-person dungeon crawler starring a one-armed warrior named Sasha. The touch-based controls have you fighting monsters and solving puzzles to overcome its bright but creepy world.

The game, which was well received by the press, has been tweaked a little for the new systems. On the Wii U, for instance, you’ll be playing with the chunky GamePad and, most likely, its slide-out stylus. Drinkbox is promising some graphical improvements and support for “Off-TV Play,” meaning you can continue adventuring while someone else is hogging the TV. The studio will also support cross-buy, meaning you can purchase the game once and play it on both your Wii U and 3DS. The App Store version will, of course, be a separate purchase for iPhone and iPad owners.

All three ports are slated for “this summer” and there’s no word yet on pricing. But as a frame of reference, it’s currently $ 14.99 on PSN.



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iOS 10 will transcribe voicemails and show calls made in apps

Not many of us send voice messages anymore, and most folks sure hate checking them. Apple’s trying to solve that with voicemail transcription, a new beta feature on iOS 10 revealed at WWDC 2016. Instead of listening to Aunt Edna drone on for 10 minutes, you can get the gist by scanning a transcript of the message in text form. At the same time, you can still listen to the message visual voicemail-style, call her back or delete the message.

Another related feature is an API for VoIP apps, which will help developers like Cicsco incorporate their apps into favorites, recents and the lockscreen. So if someone calls on a VoIP app when your iPhone is locked, for instance, you’ll see their picture on the lockscreen. Other than mentioning Cisco, Apple hasn’t said which, if any, apps will support it yet, but developers will soon get their hands on the API.

Get all the latest news from WWDC 2016 here!

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