It's not a sexy issue, but kudos to the U.S. mobile operators for coming together against texting and driving
We'll get to those smiling faces up there in a minute. But, first, perhaps the timing could have been a little better. Tucked between a little overexposure of the NVIDIA Shield and the BlackBerry Live keynote — and just a day before Google I/O kicks off — the four major U.S. cell phone operators joined together to announce their support for the "It Can Wait" campaign, an initiative started by AT&T to keep drivers from texting while they're behind the wheel.
Sprint has had its own campaign, and it should be commended for that. But it's a combined effort that's needed, and, starting May 20, a combined effort is what we'll see. Millions of dollars in what essentially is advertising money is going into this. Sure, you'll see the brand names. Sprint. AT&T. Verizon. T-Mobile. And many others. But it's the message that's truly important.
No matter the phone, no matter the operating system — and, really, no matter what sort of hands-free whiz-bang system you might have rigged up in your car, any time you take your eyes off the road, you're putting us all at risk. Everyone. You, driving the car. Your friends and family inside the car. Those of us in the cars around you. The kids playing on the street.
I'm as hypocritical as anyone. It's hard, I know. (And I work for a company that sells these whiz-bang hands-free devices. What the hell is my excuse, then?) And chances are you can glance down for a second, and nothing will happen.
Until it does.
The "It Can Wait" campaign focuses on texting, but the message, as is the name, is universal. Just a quick glimpse to see who that e-mail was from, even if you're not going to answer it. A peek at your favorite RSS feed, to make sure you didn't miss anything "important." A quick phone call — hey, you're a good driver. No big deal.
That is my wife and our kids up there. Shannon, Mia and Isabella. I'm her husband. Their father. I owe it to them to avoid doing stupid things whenever possible. (Anyone who's been in a room with me for more than 5 minutes knows that's often easier said than done.) I owe it to them — hell, I owe it to everyone around me — to keep that damn phone in my pocket when I'm driving. And so do you. Looking at that picture above helps me remember that.
Let's not be naive, though. We're still going to see folks on their phones in the car. I'm still going to struggle with not stealing a quick glance. But not playing with your phone while you're behind the wheel is that important an issue. There's really no excuse for this sort of tragedy, given how easy it is to not pick up the phone in the car.
But I'm still working on it. I'll get better at it. And, most of all, I need to set that example for my kids.
Thanks in advance, from myself, my wife and my children.
All EVs have their own particular merits: some climb, some race, some only have three wheels, and some are even prone tomelting. Chevrolet’s Spark EV may not have any of these credentials, but now it’s found the right feather to fit its cap as the “most efficient” retail car. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the Spark has a combined city / highway range of 82 miles on a full charge of its 21 kWh battery, and has given the vehicle a rating of 119 MPGe (a gasoline-equivalent figure). As Autoblog notes, Honda’s Fit EV will go 82 miles on a smaller 20 kWh battery but, once the regulators have done fiddling with digits, it only scores 118 MPGe. That’s the efficiency number that matters, and whether you’re saving the world or just trying to save money, every mile counts. You’ll be able to put that EPA rating to the test this summer when the Spark EV goes on sale in California and Oregon, but until then, check out the official certificate below the fold for more juicy details (read: efficiency stats).
The first pairs of Google Glass Explorer Edition have finally been handed over to developers, who dropped $ 1500 to be a part of the incredible journey that is Glass. Join us as we look through the best, the funniest and most interesting videos of Glass yet. And remember, this is only the beginning.
For the musicians in all of us.
Hey, calling all Fashionistas, how about experiencing New York Fashion Week through Glass. Enjoy.
You can complete the Rubik’s Cube puzzle in 30 seconds flat! Great, here’s how Google Glass will make posting your puzzle adventure onto YouTube simple.
More of an outdoorsman (or woman) you say, Glass will help you share your adventures into the deepest crevices, highest cliffs and wherever else you imagine yourself being. (Plus, as an added bonus, the chances of you being in the same position as James Franco in the movie 128 Hours, are dramatically decreased).
For the daredevils lurking deep within, here’s an amazing video of what it would be like if we all man up a bit and get on that roller coaster at Disney World.
I told you we were also considering the funniest videos and as hard to believe as it may seem, some people are a bit more skeptical over Google Glass than us folks at Android Authority. Here are two that remind you to keep your pinkies up, and dine in on Glass with a little class.
That’s all of the quirkiest and most informative videos from the web, but we must remember that the Explorer Edition of Glass have only just hit the hands of developers, so it might take some time before they discover new and innovative ways to utilize Glass to its greatest potential. But remember guys and gals, keep it classy. To play us out on a high, here is Google’s vision for what Glass will turn into. One day, Google, One day…
Is Google Glass the greatest thing to happen to mobile since the smartphone? Or is this just a passing fad? Let us know in the comments
Android gaming is interesting. There are tons of games available in the Play Store, but only a select few make it to the first page of a search query, and most people wouldn’t go digging past page 10 to find a few decent underrated games. In other words, a lot of good mobile games have gone unnoticed.
That said, we’ve taken the liberty of digging through the depths of the Play Store to find underrated games that deserve a little more attention than they’re actually getting. If you’d rather watch the underrated games video, we’ve posted it at the bottom.
Ever wondered what Skyrim would look like on a mobile device? Crescent Moon Games’ Ravensword: Shadowlands is nearly just that. Players will venture through beautifully crafted landscapes in a giant 3D open world. Like any open world RPG, players will be able to get into epic battles with a wide variety of monsters, including prehistoric creatures.
Players will have the option to venture through the magnificent landscapes either on foot, with a horse, or on one of the game’s flying mounts. Of course, the game isn’t perfect and it does have a few downsides, such as very slow movements during combat or even trying to move your field of view to look around the world.
Regardless, it’s one of the more fun and well-built underrated games. If you’d like to snag this one, be sure to download it here.
Polarbit Games’ Cracking Sands is a racer, similar to Mario Kart, but differentiates itself by being action-packed. In this game players will be able to customize their own race car, and after, load it up with machine guns, missiles and a ton of other weapon options.
One of the best things about Cracking Sands is that is features online multiplayer, which will allow you to test your mighty weapons against a broader range of players than the game’s AI controlled opponents. Being one of the underrated games though, you won’t find a whole lot of multiplayer opponents, unless you can get some friends in the mix.
If you’re wanting to take this action packed racer for a spin, you can get it on the Play Store here.
The Room had a successful launch on iOS, received a BAFTA award for Best British Game, and recently launched on Android.
The premise of The Room is simple — players are thrown into a beautifully crafted 3D world complemented by seemingly realistic graphics and spine-tingling music with the goal of cracking open a safe.
While players may, at first, see The Room as just another puzzle game, that all changes after they find out how natural moving their fingers over locks and drawers of the safe is.
One big disappointment with The Room is that it is only a mere four chapters long, which most would finish in only a few hours. Thankfully, Fireproof Games’ promises a new chapter in the summer that will open the game up to a sequel set to hit during autumn.
If you’re interested in the cryptic puzzle game, you can grab it here.
In Graviturn there are two types of circles, ones that are red and others that are green. The goal is to get the red ones off of the screen while keeping the green ones in the field of view. While the game isn’t the best in terms of graphics, it still provides a challenging yet fun experience. One of the most charming parts of this game is that after each level is completed, it’ll give you a comparison of how you did against the average. As in whether you did it faster or took more tries than the average player did. Not the most involved in our list of underrated games, but definitely the best of the simple puzzle games.
The downside to Graviturn is that it has ads without an option to pay a set amount of cash to get rid of the ads. Regardless, the game is still a lot of fun, and if you’re interested, you can get it here.
If the old classic Nintendo 64 game Bomberman had a mobile spiritual successor it would be Herocraft’s Bombergeddon. The game, while taking on Bomberman similarities, also takes on an Indiana Jones theme where players will venture through the Egyptian Tombs, Babylonian Dungeons, Aztec Ruins and Chinese Catacombs. There are 80 levels to blast through, so players will have a plethora of content to keep them busy. It’s a little slower than most would like for a Bomberman style game, but that is probably the reason it’s on this list of underrated games.
Players will have a variety of bombs to use as well. There are 14 different kinds of bombs that can be used, and there are only so many bombs that can be used. Although, in the premium version of the game, players will have an unlimited stash of regular bombs and additions bomb packs after completing a world.
Syder Arcade HD is a side-scrolling shoot ‘em up game taking place in space. Specifically noting that Syder Arcade is zombie free, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has gorgeous visuals and a truckload of alien invaders to fight off. Unlike the rest of the underrated games on our list, this game does have a few requirements that turn away some players.
The game requires that the a device has a minimum 800 x 480 resolution along with a dual-core processor. That shouldn’t be a massive problem, but devices also need to be running Android 4.0 or higher to be able to run Syder Arcade.
If you meet the game requirements and want to blast away the alien invaders, be sure to head to the Play Store to give this game a download.
Underrated games wrap up
As you can see from the leaderboard, the app rankings are based off of Google Play feedback, so there’s absolutely no bias. In other words, there should be a game for everyone here, including ones for the casual and competitive players out there. The great thing about underrated games is that there are a whole bunch of them.
There are a extraordinarily large amount of apps on the Play Store, and it would be nigh impossible to sift through all of them, let alone all of the underrated games. With that said, if you think there’s a few underrated games that we overlooked or should have included in the list, be sure to leave us a comment below.
In partnership with Electronic Arts, Samsung will offer a custom Need For Speed Most Wanted free game to the first 100,000 European Galaxy S4 buyers, but the company will also include additional content in its Samsung Hub for its European customers.
The popular racing game will feature in-game Samsung branding and will be available for download from Samsung Games to Galaxy S4 buyers. Galaxy Note 2 owners will also have access to this Samsung-branded NFS game from the Hub.
The company also has “key partnerships” with Gameloft and Glu for more Samsung Hub gaming content.
In addition to the custom EA game offer, Samsung will also offer users other apps via its Samsung Hub to Galaxy S4 buyers, including Michelin’s Michelin Traffic, Michelin Restaurants and Michelin Travel; Goodbean’s Nighty Night and Little Fox Music Box and 3400 Random House Mondadori eBooks in Spanish.
While the books will appeal to Spanish-speaking Galaxy S4 buyers only, the apps are a bit more international. Here’s what each of them will offer you:
Michelin Traffic: access to real-time traffic information in 11 European countries
Michelin Restaurants: restaurant locator for France and Germany with support for photo uploads and user reviews
Michelin Travel: app to launch this summer at which point it will feature recommendations for around 30,000 tourists attractions in Europe
Nighty Night: available in 8 languages, interactive book app for children
Little Fox Music Box: available in English and German, exclusive from Samsung Hub, sing-along interactive book entertainment app for children
The Galaxy S4 is available for pre-order in certain European markets already, including UK and Germany, and will be launched on April 26 in UK from a variety of carriers and electronics retailers. The following press release also mentions that April 27 is the release date set for the “Galaxy S4 across Europe.”
Samsung Revs Up for GALAXY S4 Launch with Key Content Partnerships
EA’s Need For Speed™ Most Wanted: Exclusive Samsung Edition and other content partnerships announced
CHERTSEY, United Kingdom – April 16, 2013 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced that the highly anticipated GALAXY S4 will introduce an exclusive edition of EA’s bestselling racing title ‘Need for Speed Most Wanted’. The game which has been optimised for Samsung will feature in-game Samsung branding and will be available for download from Samsung Games.
“Samsung is committed to delivering the best user experience possible and rich content sits at the heart of our vision. We are delighted to have exclusive branded Samsung content in a triple A game from one of the world’s foremost video game publishers. We have also secured further partnerships that deliver on our promise to open up the world of possibilities to our customers,” said Lee Epting, Vice President of Media Solution Center Europe for Samsung Electronics Europe.
Glenn Roland, Vice President for New Platforms and OEM at EA said, ‘The introduction of Samsung’s GALAXY S4 will bring outstanding mobile gaming experiences to its players. Our ‘Need for Speed Most Wanted’ offering at launch is one of several EA games specifically optimised for Samsung and will include exclusive content.’
As part of the partnership, Samsung and EA are offering the first 100,000 GALAXY S4 customers across Europe the opportunity to download the app for free via the Samsung Hub.
The partnership with EA is one of a number of agreements with that will deliver content through the Samsung Hub to coincide with the launch of the GALAXY S4 across Europe on 27 April 2013. Centered on gaming – where Samsung has key partnerships with Gameloft and Glu – books, kids and food, these partnerships demonstrate Samsung’s commitment to delivering the most diverse range of high quality content to customers across Europe.
The ‘Need for Speed Most Wanted’ Samsung edition is also available to play on Samsung GALAXY Note II.
Samsung is proud to present the ‘Michelin Traffic’ application, which gives users access to real-time traffic information in 11 countries in Europe and provides very detailed coverage including major cities and most motorways. The partnership also includes ‘Michelin Restaurants’, an app that lets users locate a restaurant in France and Germany with multi-criteria search options such as the Michelin restaurant selection. ‘Michelin Restaurants’ app also lets users upload photos of their visits and even pen their own reviews of the meals. The partnership between Michelin and Samsung apps will continue in the summer with the launch of the ‘Michelin Travel’, an app that provides recommendations to users about 30,000 tourist attractions across Europe.
Smartphones are a fantastic entertainment portal for parents with young families and to bolster the family oriented content available on Samsung Apps, app developer Goodbeans is bringing ‘Nighty Night’ (available in 8 languages – Italian, Spanish, German, English, French, Russian, Portuguese and Dutch) and ‘Little Fox Music Box’ (available in English and German), exclusively to the hub. The GALAXY S4’s incredible screen is perfect for enjoying these enchanting and immersive apps that have already gained huge popularity with over three million fans from around the world.
Random House Mondadori
To complement the existing range of Spanish-language books available, Samsung has partnered with Random House Mondadori to bring an additional 3,400 titles for readers to enjoy. These include books from international best-selling authors such as Ken Follett, E.L. James, or Stephen King, as well as Latin American and Spanish authors like Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges and Ildefonso Falcones.
Panasonic’s NYC press event had more than pricing for its media streamers and Blu-ray players, as the company also put tags on its 2013 HDTVs. While it wasn’t ready to announces MSRPs for its top of the line ZT60 plasmas that impressed us greatly at CES, it did put prices and shipping windows on its other models (check after the break for a complete list). The former flagship VT60 series will be available in 55-, 60- and 65-inch versions later this month for $ 2,600, $ 3,000 and $ 3,600, respectively. Cheaper plasma models include the ST60 and S60 series, available in sizes up to 60-inches. Its top of the line WT60 LCD LED-lit models will also ship later this month, topped by the 55-inch version with a sticker price of $ 2,999.
The bad news? While Panasonic’s plasma manufacturing will continue, The Verge reports VP Kiyoshi Okamoto confirmed at the event that development has ceased on its plasma models, although some engineers have been shifted to work on OLED displays. We’ll see if its recovery efforts and technological developments lead to new large-size OLEDs anytime soon, but for now it appears we’re seeing the last of its efforts to push plasma technology forward.
A wallet full of credit and debit cards, each with different rewards; Wallaby shows you which one to use
When you have several different credit and debit cards in you wallet, it can be hard to choose which one to use to maximize the rewards and savings associated with it. Each restaurant, shop or store you visit may have a particular card that will work out to your advantage — so how do you choose?
Wallaby hopes to help solve the problem by giving you recommendations as to which card to use to maximize value when you shop, and it's doing so in a much cleaner way with version 2.0 of its app. Read on past the break and see what the new Wallaby has to offer.
The folks at Samsung went big in 2012 and loaded up on patents, most notably mobile patents. As we’re sure many of you know Samsung didn’t have too great of a year in court regarding patents, and we have a feeling they’ll be trying hard to protect themselves in the future now that they’ve acquired so many this past year. Samsung was granted more patents than any other mobile company over the past 12 months.
As TechCrunch stated, it looks like they are loading up and building an arsenal. This way if they have to go to battle again they’ll have some return firepower for next time they meet someone like Apple in court. Last year they lost huge in the courtroom, and are hoping this will save them from the same trouble in the future.
Not only did Samsung receive the most patent grants in 2012, but according to the report they now have more than any other mobile company in the world. They have the largest amount of mobile patents, beating out Nokia and Microsoft, and from 1996 to now have been filing like crazy. Although many of those sure didn’t help them last year against Apple.
Overall the report goes on to mention roughly 25% of all patents last year were mobile based, and that number is only getting higher as the mobile generation continues to take over. I have one thing to say to Samsung. It’s not about having the most, it’s about having the right patents. We have a feeling they know that. More details and graphs detailing the mobile patent outlook for 2012 can be found from the link below. Hopefully their GALAXY S 4 is protected with a few of these newly granted patents.
The European Space Agency’sPlanck satellite has been gathering data since its launch in 2009, slowly building up a map of the cosmic microwave background radiation — a distant remnant of the Big Bang. The resulting image, seen above, is the most detailed ever put together of the cold glow that uniformly covers the universe, taking us all the way back to just a 380,000 years after the explosive inflation that gave birth to all matter, energy and time. There were some surprises, including more extreme temperature fluctuations between hemispheres than predicted by the standard model and confirmation of a pronounced cold spot that can no longer be dismissed as an artifact of previous satellite instruments. For more about just what Planck has taught us, along with a few more visualizations, check out the source link.
The best way to find out about carrier coverage is to get hands-on with a phone. We understand that not everyone has access to test devices, however there is always the option to check with friends and or family members and ask about their experience. Or possibly, grab their handset and do a quick speed test. Assuming none of those are an option, there is always the carrier coverage maps and third party reports.
We would suggest looking at the third party reports before the carrier maps and that being the case, it looks like Root Metrics has recently offered a fairly in-depth look at the state of LTE in the US. Their report covers the four big carriers — AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. The report took at look at a total of 77 markets and to give a spoiler — it had Verizon Wireless with the most coverage and AT&T with the fastest coverage.
Needless to say, while fastest is generally nicer when it comes to the web, we cannot overlook Verizon as offering the most. This report notes AT&T as having the “fastest pure LTE speeds” showing LTE download speeds of 18.6 Mbps and upload speeds of 9.0 Mbps. AT&T had LTE coverage in 47 of the 77 tested markets. Looking outside LTE and AT&T was shown to have speeds of 4.3 Mbps down and 1.1 Mbps up.
Verizon on the other hand was showing average download speeds of 14.3 Mbps and average upload speeds of 8.5 Mbps. Stepping outside of the Verizon LTE areas and the average speeds were pretty far down as compared to AT&T. Verizon was shown to have averages of 0.9 Mbps down and 0.7 Mbps up. Just for comparison, this report notes that Verizon has LTE in 475 markets with AT&T having 135. Needless to say, we expect those covered market numbers to change. And in fact, they likely have already as both carriers seem to be adding LTE on a fairly regular basis.
Otherwise, T-Mobile and their HSPA+42 network was shown to produce average speeds of 7.3 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up which had them labeled as continuing to impress. While T-Mobile is certainly not comparing in terms of LTE speeds, they are doing rather nice when compared to the non-LTE networks of Verizon and/or AT&T. Bottom line here, we go back to the bit about actually seeing coverage in your area first hand, but this report does give a fairly nice look and should be helpful especially for those who regularly travel across the country.
[Update] It looks like some changes have indeed been made since this report was published. We have received word from AT&T letting us know they have since launched in 26 of the remaining markets. Basically, of those 77 tested, there is now only 4 where Verizon has LTE and AT&T does not.