Yesterday we saw the reactivation of the @DroidLanding Twitter account with posts indicating a new scavenger hunt utilizing an augmented reality app was on the way to Verizon. Postings have continued today with a couple tweets of photos of some of the mechanized “wARriors” that will be available in the game. The account also released a link to a YouTube video trailer for the DROID Combat/D:COM app. The video shows some game play and screens for selecting your Droid warrior. » Read the rest
Yesterday when Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg met with executives from Samsung to pitch a new Facebook phone, we concluded such a collaboration was improbable. New reports today from unidentified insiders close to the discussions indicate Samsung is unlikely to take up Facebook’s quest to become the “second Google.” The insider hints that Samsung already sees Google as a rival in the smartphone market and does not want to “nurture” yet another competitor. The sense of Google being a rival, instead of a partner, appears to stem from the belief that Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility last year has the two titans on a collision course for market share.
Besides not opening any new financial doors for Samsung, a partnership with Facebook to produce a new handset could have a negative impact on Samsung. After being widely panned, Facebook’s Home launcher could be seen as a downgrade relative to the image Samsung is trying to present. Samsung is also working on initiatives like Tizen, which would probably give it much more control over the user experience than what they would achieve in a partnership with Facebook.
Samsung has not yet offered any official word regarding the nature of the meeting or their response to Zuckerberg’s entreaties.
NVIDIA announced via their blog today that they are preparing to take things in a new direction by licensing their GPU cores and visual computing patent portfolio to other manufacturers. NVIDIA notes that during recent years, as PC sales have been in a decline, sales of other computing devices have been increasing. Going along with this changing landscape, consumers are demanding faster, crisper, high definition displays that produce vivid images no matter what device is currently in use. Driving those displays are the GPUs and NVIDIA is in a good position to capitalize as they have been a long time leader in the GPU market for PCs and more recently, they have been successful in the Android device market with their Tegra line of chips. » Read the rest
LG Display has announced it will start mass production of flexible OLED displays for smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2013. The flexible displays will support ultra high-definition and besides the benefits of being flexible,will be very thin as well. According to LG’s official statement, “We have completed the development of our first flexible displays. We will mass produce flexible displays from the fourth quarter of this year.” The production facility in Paju is expected to be able to produce 12,000 sheets on a monthly basis, though it is not clear how many devices could be produced from a single sheet. » Read the rest
Surfacing from a long period of inactivity, the Twitter account @DroidLanding reappeared with activity this afternoon. At this point, the tweets are rather vague, though there are enough hints dropped in to stir the rumors of a new DROID device getting ready to show up on the Verizon network. That seems like a bit of a stretch unless Verizon renames the mysterious Motorola X Phone. Whatever Verizon may have up their sleeve, it looks like it will involve an augmented reality scavenger hunt game based on the latest teaser video to surface.
@DroidLanding‘s initial tweet merely announced the resumption of activity with the lead “Reactivation protocols initiated.” That was followed by another tweet announcing:
“Augmented Reality imaging matrix is online ::: Scavenge mode detected…”
The latest tweet from the account points to a YouTube video that shows footage of Transformer type combat DROIDs. The tweet mentions “wARriors” with the AR capitalized. The video includes “DROID Combat/D:COM” in the title. The last time the AR moniker was used was back in 2011 when the Droid Bionic ARena augmented reality scavenger hunt game was made available. That title was also created by MunkyFun, the developers mentioned in this latest video. Back then, the goal of the app was to win a DROID Bionic.
If Verizon is preparing to unleash a new augmented reality scavenger hunt game, what could the prize be? Hit the break for the video.
Last month HTC was purged of many top executives, including Michael Coombes, the former head of U.K. sales for HTC and James Atkins, a U.K. marketing head for HTC. Those two have resurfaced only weeks later with the announcement that they are launching Kazam, a new smartphone manufacturer. Coombes will be CEO for the new company and Atkins will serve as chief marketing officer. According to the two, Kazam will be about “stunning design, robust hardware, and intuitive technology, underpinned with improved customer service.”
The move is certainly a bold one at a time when we see companies like HTC, Sony and LG struggling against the twin behemoths Apple and Samsung. Considering the trouble established companies are having, it is hard to imagine a startup becoming successful. Kazam will have the challenge of both sourcing parts for the devices it plans to produce and striking deals to get connected with carriers willing to offer their devices. One glimmer of hope is the fact that the company plans to focus on the European market where unlocked devices are more popular. Kazam also promises to differentiate itself by offering support after a sale is made, although it is unclear what that means. Perhaps there will be more of a focus on keeping devices up to the most recent version of Android, assuming that is the operating system chosen for their smartphones.
Google revealed on their official blog today that they have reached agreement with several retailers to start carrying Chromebooks on their retail shelves. The devices have been available at Best Buy locations and through Amazon.com. Probably the biggest outlet added to the list is Walmart, which will carry a $199 Acer version of the Chromebook in 2,800 locations throughout the U.S. » Read the rest
Online photo service SmugMug released a native Android app to the Google Play Store today, making use of the service much easier to use compared to the mobile web version. The SmugMug service starts at $5 per month, which entitles users to unlimited photo uploads. Prices go up from there if you want to do things like upload HD videos or sell your photos through the site. If you don’t have a SmugMug account already, you can save 25% off the first year’s subscription if you sign up through the new Android app. » Read the rest
Facebook’s Instagram photo sharing service appears to be on the brink of adding video sharing to the set of features it is capable of supporting. Sources have surfaced today indicating they believe a Facebook event scheduled for June 20th could be the unveiling of this video sharing capability. The addition of video sharing appears to be in response to Twitter’s Vine service which enables the sharing of short videos through that network. Since being unveiled about six months ago, Vine has been increasing in popularity at a nice pace with iOS users. However, once Vine for Android was released earlier this month, the service has exploded and in the process, the number of tweets sharing Vine videos has surpassed the number of tweets sharing Instagram photos. » Read the rest
Android users who enjoy finding live radio stations to stream over their device may want to check out a new entrant in the market, MPme Radio. MPme Radio claims to take the chore of creating playlists by curating live radio stations for you. Several options are available for users to access streaming radio stations, including direct entry, searches based on genre or favorite artists, scanning your music library, and reviewing your likes on Facebook. The app then searches a database to find online, live radio stations that stream through the app. » Read the rest