Atari says it's focusing on the mass market, as well as the charity sector, and that the IoT connectivity will provide various functionality, such as GPS tracking, provide status and temperature info and other basic functionality such as a panic button, or alerting family that you've run out of gas. Atari mentioned to Engadget a wide range of potential markets including kids (trackers), sports, travel and collars for pets.
This isn't the first time Atari has tried to reinvent itself. Over the company's 40-year history, it has made arcade games, traditional consoles, home computers, handhelds and, of course, amassed a healthy library of game franchises. Titles that have been reimagined (several times) for modern platforms. More recent ventures include an LGBT-themed social game, and a move into online gambling.
Of course, the Atari from the 70s is not the same company we see today. The original firm, as founded by Nolan Bushnell, changed hands in the 80s after the video game crash in 1983. The Tramiel family, of Commodore and Amiga fame then led Atari's consumer electronics division into the 90s before a a series of deals would ultimately see the Atari brand and catalog become a licensing operation.
No doubt it'll be interesting to see what any new hardware will look like and whether Atari can continue to trade on the good will and nostalgia of people who love its games. Even the company's biggest mistakes have a habit of working out well in the end.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/31/atari-iot-connected-devices/
To ensure Messenger's machine learning features continue to grow and adapt (e.g., smart replies), Facebook needs access to users' messages. Encryption obviously gets in the way of this mission since it prevents Facebook from intercepting and analyzing those texts, hence the need for users to opt-in. It's the same stance Google's taking with its own smart messaging app, Allo -- another platform that offers optional encryption.
The move underscores growing concerns over privacy and digital convenience. For users, however, it presents a dilemma -- if you want the sort of lazy, machine-assisted service provided by the likes of Google and Facebook, you have to be willing to let your privacy guards down. If you value privacy, then you have to be content looking in from the outside.
There's a practical reason for making you feel more at home with Assistant, of course. The easier it is to get along with the AI, the more likely it is that you'll use it -- and that, in turn, could lead to more internet searches. Not that many are likely to object. One of the biggest gripes with the current generation of AI helpers is their tendency to be cold and strictly task-oriented. Adding some character, even if it's pre-programmed, could help bring this smart software into the mainstream.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/31/google-assistant-personality/
Starting off at the high end, we have the aluminum Inspiron 7000 series 2-in-1s, which come in sizes of 13, 15 and 17 inches. The 17-incher is a first in the 2-in-1 market, with its beastly size making it especially handy for kitchen use, small meetings and maybe movie watching. These are all designed with prosumers in mind. As such, they pack Intel's sixth-generation Core processor, NVIDIA's GeForce 940M graphics chip and a backlit keyboard.
These will also come with an infrared camera for Windows Hello's facial recognition login feature. In addition to the HDMI port, the two full-size USB connections (one of them USB 3.0), the SD card slot and the usual power plug socket, there's also a USB Type-C port on the left for an external dock, monitor or secondary battery. This series starts at $749 and will be hitting Dell's US site on June 2nd, followed by retail availability at Best Buy.
If Microsoft is hoping to quell rumors of new Xbox hardware at E3, it isn't doing the greatest job. The company has permanently cut the prices of Xbox One consoles by $50 across the board, lowering the base price to $299 -- even some of the nicer multi-game 1TB bundles now sell for $319. These are tremendousprices, of course, but they're coming just a couple of weeks before E3. While this could just be an attempt to goose sales during the historically quiet summer, it's only going to fuel talk of a possible smaller 2TB system that would become the new flagship. The price drop is great if you're looking for the most affordable Xbox One possible, but it's otherwise worth holding off a little while... especially if you want to see what Sony brings to the table.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/31/xbox-one-price-drops-to-299/
The system works like this: By default it's a beefy, ultra-masculine Android smartphone with a skin that looks like it was designed by the prop department of a spy movie. But once you've flicked the tiny toggle on the back of the device, it'll switch into a secure mode with a green and white, 8-bit skin. In this mode, all but the most essential sensors are disabled, and both calls and text messages are encrypted, only to be read by trusted devices carrying the Solarin Friend app. In this environment, your data is protected by 256-bit AES encryption, backed up by security firms Zimperium and Koolspan. There's even a secure concierge service that monitors the state of your phone and warns you of incoming attacks.
An Android skin that looks like it was designed by the prop department of a spy movie
When not in this mode, it's just your average Android smartphone, with a high-end Snapdragon 810 chip and a healthy 4GB of RAM. You'll also get 120GB of internal storage (no memory card slot) and a 23.8-megapixel, Sony made camera and a quad-LED flash. Hold the 5.5-inch device in your hand and the first thing you'll notice is how hefty it feels. The pictures convey some degree of chunkiness, but only in real life do you see how pleasingly solid it feels. Imagine a BlackBerry Storm binged on protein powder for a few months and you'll get the idea. The unobtrusive styling, coated in black "technical leather" (read: leather made to look like carbon fiber), means that Solarin oozes the sort of ultra masculine charm that business types probably fetishize.
The 5.5-inch, QHD IPS LCD display boasts fantastic viewing angles and beautifully rich colors. Like the Snapdragon 810 chip, it isn't brand new, but the compromise there was intentional. The year-old chipset was chosen to ensure that the company had a year to ensure it was secure. Likewise, the Solarin may not have a 4K display, but the comparatively lower resolution here is surely gentler on the 4,040mAh battery.
Of course, members of the jet set are so called because they're often found touring the world. The company promises that the device will work with more LTE carriers across the world than any other device on the market. Regardless of the network you choose, you'll insert your SIM into a single, hot-swappable microSIM card slot on the upper-right hand side. Connectivity-wise, the phone also packs gigabit WiFi and MIMO in order to handle multiple connections at once. Then again, BlackBerry made similar promises back in the day, and those never really amounted to much.
Now, it's not hard to see who this device is aimed for, but you have to ask: Do they need this device anymore? An Android smartphone with high level encryption and security is highly desirable, but the highest levels of protection is only available within the secure mode. And in this secure mode, the only features you can make are calls and texts -- and who does either of those anymore? Sure, there are a handful of people who still need to make calls, but is the NSA really targeting them?
When I spoke to co-founder Moshe Hogeg, he said that the NSA isn't interested in business people, but the question is: are hackers? How likely is it that the precise details of a forthcoming transaction would be outlined on a voice call that criminals could then use to game the stock market? It's plausible, sure, but enough to drag people away from the comfort of their Galaxy S7s and iPhone 6Ss? That's harder to say. This phone will surely appeal to people who feel that they deserve a device this secure -- this high-end -- but then again, nobody wants using their phone to feel like a chore, right?
Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/31/solarin-hands-on/
Amazon isn't wasting any time making good on its original programming plans for Japan. As part of its Prime Video service, which launched in September of last year, the company had announced plans to offer about 20 original shows tailored to that market. And today, Amazon Japan has unveiled a slate of originals detailing 12 new series that span a variety of genres, including documentaries, dramas and children's shows.
Standouts include Magi, a time-traveling historical drama about teens that return to Japan to find Christianity's been banned; live-action versions of Ultraman and Kamen Rider; and animated fare like the Manga series Businessmen vs. Aliens, and Baby Steps. While some of theses series are already available to stream now, others are planned to debut later in the year or even in 2017. It's also worth noting that Prime Video subscribers in Japan get access to these originals, as well as other Amazon series like Mozart in the Jungle for the bargain price of $32/year. Doesn't seem fair, now does it?
Last week, a report claiming that Jawbone would exit the fitness tracker marketplace made the rounds. At the time, Jawbone offered us a "no comment," but today the company has released a full statement that entirely refutes last week's rumors. "Speculation that Jawbone is exiting the wearables business or going out of business altogether is false," the company writes. "Jawbone remains wholly committed to innovating in and building great wearables products. The company has never been more excited about its pipeline of technology and products and looks forward to sharing them when ready."
With most social internet services, getting rid of trolls is usually a matter of reporting a post or blocking the offender. But how do you do that in a fast-moving livestream service like Periscope? By asking viewers for help, that's how. Periscope has introduced a moderation system that creates "flash juries" whenever a comment is up for dispute. If someone flags a message as abuse or spam, five random viewers are asked to vote on whether or not it's a problem. If the majority believes it is, the offender faces a minute-long ban on comments; a repeat offense mutes the person for the rest of the broadcast.
Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/31/periscope-flash-juries/
Mojang's putting its blocky foot down when it comes to brands and Minecraft. In an open letter to the community on its site, Owen Hill, the company's director of creative communications, laid out new guidelines specifically directed at companies, ad agencies and any other non-gamer entities looking to capitalize on Minecraft's massive user community.
For an idea of just how vast that base is, consider that, in 2014, creator Markus "Notch" Persson revealed that the PC version had over 100 million registered users. It's understandable that a pool of users that large would prove a tempting lure for brands that want to market their wholly unrelated wares to the community. But no more -- according to the new building promotion guidelines, it's no longer permissible to build servers or maps to "promote unrelated products in playable form." So what does that translate to? Well, you can say goodbye to awkward promotions like the giant, working cellphone CaptainSparklez made on behalf of Verizon, or Disney commissioning a map of Tomorrowland to promote its film of the same name. All that said, if you're a mega fan and you do these sorts of things on your own time and dime, well, that's just fine by Mojang.